Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 22, 2012

Mountaineers plummet in polls

WVU now No. 25 in AP poll, No. 22 from USA Today

By JOHN RABY, AP Sports Writer
Associated Press

MORGANTOWN — A battle for Big 12 supremacy left Kansas State and West Virginia heading in opposite directions.

No. 4 Kansas State (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) is rolling through a tough conference schedule and turning away all challenges. The latest victim: the Mountaineers.

“I’m very proud of our guys and how we’ve been able to hang together in adversity and prosperity,” quarterback Collin Klein said. “And we just have to keep moving forward.”

That means returning home for games against No. 15 Texas Tech (6-1, 3-1) on Saturday and Oklahoma State on Nov. 3.

Kansas State went 3-0 over a four-week stretch of road games that included wins at No. 8 Oklahoma and Iowa State. The Wildcats seem to be improving with each game.

West Virginia? Things are going downhill fast. The offense is broken down, the defense is nonexistent and the Mountaineers (5-2, 2-2) have plummeted from No. 5 to No. 25 in The Associated Press poll in two weeks.

Against West Virginia, the Wildcats made it look easiest of all, scoring on their first eight possessions and winning 55-14 Saturday night.

The Mountaineers had surrendered an average of 53 points over its past four games, and they let Klein throw for a career-high 323 yards and three touchdowns and run for four scores.

What was surprising was how West Virginia’s offense — so explosive in its first five games behind Geno Smith — came up with a dud for the second straight week.

Kansas State has not allowed an opponent to score more than 21 points all season. And the Wildcats forced Smith to throw his first two interceptions of the year.

Smith now has been limited to a touchdown pass apiece against two straight solid defenses after picking apart teams such as Marshall, Baylor and Texas, all among the worst defenses in the country.

“I’m not going to sit here and point fingers at anyone else,” Smith said. “I’m the leader of this team, the leader of the offense, and as an offense we didn’t do enough.

“Those guys score points, so what? We’ve got to go out there and match it, and that’s our job. And as an offense you can’t be worrying about what’s going on with the defense.”

That will be up to West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and defensive coordinator Joe DeForest. They will use a bye week to see what repairs can be made to a defense that has yet to improve in any phase.

Holgorsen and DeForest insist there’s nothing wrong with the way the 3-4 defense is drawn up. They just want execution and overall effort. In the least, they would like a leader to emerge from an inexperienced group.

“It’s hard, because you want someone to step up, grab the team and say ‘Come on, follow me,”’ DeForest said. “But we don’t have that on defense. And until we do, we’ll struggle.

“It’s up to us as coaches to try to find leaders, but it’s up to the kids to be leaders. You can’t always lead as a coach; you’ve got to have someone from within to pull them with you. It’s part of it.”

West Virginia will need to win the rest of its games, starting with TCU at home on Nov. 3, to keep alive any hope of a BCS bowl bid.

And after one of West Virginia’s worst home losses in school history, attention about the Heisman Trophy shifted from Smith and toward Klein. Teams still have a lot of playing out to do, but Klein’s leadership is turning more heads.

“He played a great game,” Smith said. “Hats off to that guy and their team.”

*****

The AP Top 25

The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Oct. 20, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking:

    Record    Pts    Pv

 1. Alabama (59)    7-0    1,499    1

 2. Oregon    7-0    1,424    2

 3. Florida (1)    7-0    1,380    3

 4. Kansas St.    7-0    1,333    4

 5. Notre Dame    7-0    1,241    5

 6. LSU    7-1    1,172    6

 7. Oregon St.    6-0    1,106    8

 8. Oklahoma    5-1    1,065    10

 9. Ohio St.    8-0    1,028    7

10. Southern Cal    6-1    944    11

11. Florida St.    7-1    872    12

12. Georgia    6-1    745    13

13. Mississippi St.    7-0    739    15

14. Clemson    6-1    713    14

15. Texas Tech    6-1    653    18

16. Louisville    7-0    620    16

17. South Carolina    6-2    591    9

18. Rutgers    7-0    539    19

19. Stanford    5-2    421    22

20. Michigan    5-2    300    23

21. Boise St.    6-1    258    24

22. Texas A&M    5-2    252    20

23. Ohio    7-0    181    25

24. Louisiana Tech    6-1    106    NR

25. West Virginia    5-2    76    17

Others receiving votes: Toledo 49, Texas 33, Wisconsin 31, TCU 29, Nebraska 24, Penn St. 18, NC State 13, Oklahoma St. 12, Arizona 7, UCLA 7, Tulsa 6, Arizona St. 5, N. Illinois 5, Cincinnati 3.

*****

USA Today Poll

The USA Today Top 25 football coaches poll:

    Record    Pts    Pvs

 1. Alabama (59)    7-0    1,475    1

 2. Oregon    7-0    1,403    2

 3. Florida    7-0    1,329    4

 4. Kansas State    7-0    1,326    3

 5. Notre Dame    7-0    1,221    5

 6. LSU    7-1    1,164    6

 7. Oklahoma    5-1    1,084    7

 8. Southern California    6-1    1,014    9

 9. Oregon State    6-0    974    11

10. Florida State    7-1    948    10

11. Georgia    6-1    850    12

12. Mississippi State    7-0    800    16

13. Clemson    6-1    788    13

14. Louisville    7-0    720    14

15. Rutgers    7-0    637    17

16. South Carolina    6-2    598    8

17. Texas Tech    6-1    571    20

18. Boise State    6-1    407    22

19. Stanford    5-2    401    23

20. Michigan    5-2    264    25

21. Texas A&M    5-2    229    19

22. West Virginia    5-2    173    15

23. Ohio    7-0    132    NR

24. Texas    5-2    109    NR

25. Wisconsin    6-2    104    NR

Others receiving votes: Louisiana Tech 100; Nebraska 71; TCU 71; Cincinnati 51; Oklahoma State 37; Toledo 30; Arizona State 21; Tulsa 21; Duke 16; Northern Illinois 14; Northwestern 11; Louisiana-Monroe 7; Western Kentucky 3; UCLA 1.

*****

Harris Top 25

The Top 25 teams in the Harris Interactive College Football Poll:

    Record    Pts    Pvs

 1. Alabama (109)    7-0    2,868    1

 2. Oregon (5)    7-0    2,727    2

 3. Florida (1)    7-0    2,622    3

 4. Kansas State    7-0    2,571    4

 5. Notre Dame    7-0    2,374    5

 6. LSU    7-1    2,270    6

 7. Oklahoma    5-1    2,021    9

 8. Oregon State    6-0    2,001    10

 9. Southern Cal    6-1    1,934    11

10. Florida State    7-1    1,911    8

11. Georgia    6-1    1,603    12

12. Mississippi State    7-0    1,602    14

13. Clemson    6-1    1,562    13

14. Louisville    7-0    1,324    16

15. Rutgers    7-0    1,205    17

16. South Carolina    6-2    1,189    7

17. Texas Tech    6-1    1,074    21

18. Stanford    5-2    929    20

19. Boise State    6-1    762    23

20. Michigan    5-2    490    NR

21. Texas A&M    5-2    465    19

22. West Virginia    5-2    363    15

23. Ohio    7-0    293    NR

24. Texas    5-2    237    25

25. TCU    5-2    195    22

Other teams receiving votes: Wisconsin 136; Nebraska 128; Louisiana Tech 127; Cincinnati 116; Oklahoma State 72; Toledo 44; Tulsa 39; Arizona State 37; NC State 31; Northwestern 17; Duke 10; Northern Illinois 7; UCLA 7; Nevada 6; Louisiana-Monroe 4; Iowa State 2.