Column by MICKEY FURFARI
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
West Virginia University’s once-proud football team has slipped into shamble status.
The Mountaineers (5-2,2-2 Big 12) looked totally unprepared in Saturday night’s 55-14 beating by No. 4-ranked Kansas State before a crowd of 60,101 unhappy fans.
In doing so, West Virginia went from bad to horribly worse. It had lost at Texas Tech 49-14 the previous Saturday and the Mountaineers were favored in both lopsided loses.
Even the most loyal folks are embarrassed and concerned about the sad state in which WVU finds itself, with five games left in the 2012 season.
There were times during the 5-0 start that some folks thought the WVU offense might have been the best they have ever seen here. But it looks as sad as the disappointing defense has been since season’s start.
Opposing teams may be catching up with the offense, which continues to leave gaping holes in the defensive unit.
It’s shameful during this first year in the Big 12. Thousands of fans were gone in disgust Saturday by the middle of the third quarter.
How could you blame them, considering the mounting score and cold weather?
Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia’s second-year head coach, said after the game:
“No excuses. It starts with me. We’ll fix what the problems are and we’ll keep plugging along and try to get better.”
Isn’t that pretty much what the coaches have been saying all along about the scheme? It appears that opposing coaches are now taking advantage of opportunities they’re spotting.
The Mountaineers, who were outscored by 104-28 in the last two losses, were so inept offensively that they did not cross midfield until 7:26 remained in the third quarter Saturday night.
“The schemes are fine,” Holgorsen said “We didn’t just forget how to coach football.”
Nonetheless, there are those who questioned whether he and his aides prepared the team adequately for Kansas State (7- 0, 4-0 Big 12).
Right or wrong, it always comes down to highly-paid coaches in college football.
Kansas State scored points on its first eight possessions, and the Wildcats had to punt just one time.
That was the Mountaineers’ worst home defeat since a 58-14 mauling by No. 1 Miami in 1986. The back-to–back loses were the worst since Pitt and Colorado State won by a combined 81 points in 1978.
Kansas State, a well-balanced team with a head coach in his 21st year, held West Virginia to its lowest production of the season.
The Mountaineers finished with only 18 first downs, a net of 88 rushing yards, 155 yards passing and only 213 total offense yards.
The Wildcats had 24 first downs, 146 rushing yards, 333 passing yards and 479 total offense yards.
WVU has an open date this week.
Senior Tavon Austin scored both touchdowns for WVU. He returned a kickoff 100 yards in the second quarter and caught a 5-yard pass from Geno Smith in the last quarter for the other. Tyler Bitancurt made the two PATs.
Smith completed 21 of 32 passes for only 143 yards and one touchdown. He threw two interceptions.
KSU quarterback Collin Klein threw for 302 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for four touchdowns and 51 yards.