Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

MICKEY FURFARI

October 29, 2013

Column: Is WVU developing ‘carbon copy’ identity?

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University’s football team seems to be establishing an identity that nobody should like.

I call that identity, after eight games, a “carbon copy of faulty, folding finishes.” And that’s not only unacceptable to growing numbers of Mountaineer supporters, but seemingly mystifying to WVU third-year head coach Dana Holgorsen and his constantly changing staff.

The terribly inconsistent Mountaineers (3-5, 1-4 Big 12) folded in the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s 35-12 loss at Kansas State (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) just as they had in the closing stage of the 37-27 homecoming loss to Texas Tech the previous Saturday in Morgantown.

West Virginia blew leads in both of those Big 12 contests. Granted, the Red Raiders and the Wildcats were solid favorites to win.

But both teams had to battle back from deficits against WVU, which gave up a combined 35 points in the fourth quarter of what were certainly winnable games.

Tech scored 20 consecutive points and KSU 21.

This latest one was No. 3 in that category of games WVU could have won, in my opinion (counting that 16-7 loss at Oklahoma on Sept. 7).

Following this third straight setback, Holgorsen told reporters:

“It’s a huge concern. It’s a four-quarter game. We talk about it being a four-quarter game. We talk about how we have to finish. And we didn’t.

“It’s a concern. That doesn’t happen to good teams.”

But it continues to haunt Coach Dana Holgorsen’s Mountaineers.

West Virginia, which now is 5-11 for its last 16 games dating back to last season’s shocking collapse after a 5-0 and No. 5 ranking start, yielded 35 unanswered points in the fourth quarter of the last two losses.

It is still baffling to many what has happened to that highly productive offense Holgorsen had success with elsewhere as offensive coordinator. Wasn’t that the main reason WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck hired him in 2011 to replace the late Bill Stewart as head coach?

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MICKEY FURFARI