2017-11-08 / Sports

Chip Shots

Good win
by Jim Buzzerd

Nothing is coming easy for the West Virginia University Football Team. West Virginia beat Iowa State 20-16 last Saturday, but it wasn’t easy. Of course it wasn’t supposed to be easy as the Cyclones came into the game ranked 14th even though they were a three-point underdog. It’s just that West Virginia led 20-0 less than 24 minutes into the game, thus giving Mountaineer fans hope that possibly the team would finally take control of a game and put the Cyclones away early.

Obviously it did not go like that. WVU did not score any more in the game and ISU had ample opportunities to get out of Morgantown with a win, but the WVU defense, in one of its better outings of the season, forced three red zone field goals to help keep the Cyclones at bay.

The stat line suggests the Mountaineer offense played well. The running game was back to being productive with 208 yards to the Cyclones 101. Will Grier was 20-25 with one pick for 316 yards and two touchdowns. West Virginia outgained Iowa State 524 total yards to 350 yards. So, it was a good day for the defense, but the offense will need to get points on the board going forward.

Next up for the Mountaineers will be at Kansas State this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. West Virginia has only beaten the Wildcats once in five tries since joining the Big 12 in 2012 and that was a 17-16 nail biter last season. KSU is 5-4 on the season with an overtime loss at Texas and an overtime win at Texas Tech last Saturday. There is no reason not to expect a close game this Saturday.

Notable with Kansas State is their 78-year-old coach Bill Snyder. There aren’t many times KSU goes into a game without having a coaching advantage and that has been obvious in his games against WVU. Two years ago he had to use a converted wide receiver at quarterback against WVU and won. He almost got his Wildcats out of Morgantown last year with an upset victory. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

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On Monday WVU athletic director Shane Lyons announced a four-year extension to head basketball coach Bob Huggins contract. Under the agreement, following the 2021- 22 season, Huggins will assume a five-year Emeritus status within the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, which concludes June 30, 2027. He will be involved in public relations and development activities in addition to other duties assigned at that time by the athletic director. Huggins could defer his term of Emeritus status and continue to serve as head coach beyond 2021-22 with a mutual agreement between Huggins and the director.

Huggins will take the 11th ranked Mountaineers to Ramstein Miesenbach, Germany this Friday for a season opening game against Texas A&M as part of the Armed Forces Classic. Game time is 6 p.m. on ESPN.

The pre season attention the Mountaineers are receiving is flattering, but you can call me a skeptic. Even with all Big 12 performer Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles returning to man the backcourt for their fourth season together, there are lots of question marks for the 2017-18 edition of the Mountaineers.

Esa Ahmad will have to serve a half season suspension. Elijah Macon decided to forego his senior season. With those players in the lineup every night a good case could be made for a high national ranking. That’s even taking into account the graduation of Nathan Adrian who was the engine that made the WVU press as effective as it was last season. Take those three players away and West Virginia is incredibly thin and inexperienced in the front court.

Sophomores Sagaba Konate and Lamont West each showed flashes as freshmen a season ago, but neither was particularly consistent. There’s good reason to expect them to make strides in that area, but due to Konate’s tendency to get in foul trouble Huggins doesn’t expect to get more than 20 minutes a game from the big man. WVU will need for 6- 10 sophomore Maciej Bender to step up in the post. We should know not to underestimate Huggins’ coaching ability, 20 wins this season would be a good total.

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