Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


November 29, 2012

WVU not taking Kansas lightly

MORGANTOWN — Most fans probably figure Kansas will be a pushover for West Virginia in both team’s regular-season football finale here Saturday.

That’s because the Jayhawks (1-10, 0-8 Big 12) are occupying the conference cellar.

But Dana Holgorsen, the Mountaineers’ second-year head coach, most certainly isn’t talking like he’s taking the Jayhawks lightly.

“We’re going to be at a schematic disadvantage going against their coaches,” Holgorsen said. “They’re (veteran) great coaches with tremendous pedigree.”

He believes those mentors will recruit top-notch players and within a couple of years they will be in the same boat with other Big 12 programs.

WVU coaches are proud of the way the Mountaineers (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) fought through a five-year losing streak, and then capped that with a 31-24 win against Iowa State away from home.

“We’ve done a good job of sticking together,” Holgorsen explained. “Obviously, a couple losses really hurt.”

But players and coaches alike did not want people to have an opportunity to discredit West Virginia as a new member of the conference who couldn’t handle the league upgrade.

 “We just kept working hard to become a better team,” he noted. “So we battle back.”

He said the coaching staff and players lost no time getting back to work this week, preparing for what they expect Kansas to throw at WVU on Saturday.

The kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Mountaineer Field/Milan Puskar Stadium.

Root Network will televise the action.

Holgorsen think the biggest issue of the season has been the parity among Big 12 teams. Nine of the 10 members are bowl-eligible.

 In addition, eight of those were nationally top 25 ranked at one time or another this year.

West Virginia has been mentioned as a likely selection for either the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, Calif., or the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York City. Both are held in late December.

Twenty-two seniors on the WVU squad will be honored before Saturday’s game.           

Holgorsen hopes Mountaineers fans turn out in large number to pay tribute to Geno Smith and Tavon Austin; they are all-time greats, as well as other seniors.

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