by Jim Buzzerd
Friday should end it
The West Virginia University Football Team fell to 4-7 Saturday losing to Oklahoma State 20-13 in a game they led until the final minute of the third period. That has been a common theme for WVU this season as the Mountaineers have taken teams well into the second half before running out of gas.
Saturday was similar except WVU had a first down at the OSU 18 yard line with less than three minutes to play and a chance to tie the game with a touchdown and extra point.
A one-yard gain by Leddie Brown, two blown up screen passes and a missed connection from Jarret Doege to T.J. Simmons sealed the Mountaineers’ fate. Things may have worked out differently when WVU had the ball first and inches from the Cowboy goal line early in the second quarter, but two failed runs and an offside penalty forced the Mountaineers to kick a field goal to make the score 7-3.
There is a caveat here though. A Doege pass to Sam James was ruled down at the one-yard line. The play was reviewed and seemed to show that James’ knee wasn’t down and the ball broke the plane for a touchdown. TV and radio announcers seemed to agree the call would be ruled a touchdown, but it wasn’t. I haven’t heard what the replay booth judged here, but they did spot the ball about two feet closer to the goal line, so they had to have seen the knee wasn’t down. Coach Neal Brown was livid, I was livid and my dog was scared.
The subsequent futility at the one-foot line and the stupid penalty was further infuriating, but it is what the 2019 football season has become.
The loss means a six-win season and bowl eligibility are no longer attainable as WVU prepares to play TCU Black Friday at 4:15 p.m. in the season finale in Fort Worth on ESPN. The Horned Frogs are 5-6 and will be playing to become bowl eligible. There have been cases where a 5-7 team has gone to a bowl, but for practical purposes consider the Mountaineers season over following Friday’s game. The best thing about a bowl game for this young team would be the 15 extra practices that would benefit the incredibly high number of freshmen on the team.
Finishing with a basketball note, the Mountaineers are in The Cancun Challenge this Tuesday and Wednesday. By the time most of you read this WVU’s first round game with Northern Iowa will be in the books. The Panthers are 6-0 and knock off a Power Five team or two annually. WVU is not expected to cruise in this one. The winner will play the winner of the South Carolina-Wichita State Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. The loser’s bracket game will be on at 6 p.m. All games will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.