2017-11-15 / Sports

Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

Who would have thought?

Last weekend was a busy one for West Virginia University athletic teams. Football and men’s basketball is routinely discussed in this space, but it should be pointed out that the WVU women’s soccer team won their first round NCAA Tournament game last Friday with a 3-0 win over Bucknell. The Mountaineers will host Rutgers this Friday at 7 p.m. for a spot in the Elite 8.

Now, in the ‘things that make you go wow’ category; who would have believed in 2010 that the Mountaineer football team would be finishing its 2017 regular season schedule with a home game against Texas and a road game at Oklahoma? It’s a safe bet no one could have foretold the conference shake-ups would have landed WVU in a conference with all, but one member west of the Mississippi River, but here we are.

West Virginia picked up its second win in a row with a 28- 23 win over Kansas State on the road last Saturday. It is the first win for WVU in Manhattan and it leaves the Mountaineers with a 7-3 overall record and 5-2 in the Big 12. That puts West Virginia in a good spot, being assured of a winning record and all. However, there is one thing that has become a glaring issue and that is for the second straight week the Mountaineer offense has been shut out.

This level of inconsistency probably won’t cut it against Texas this week and definitely won’t allow WVU to stay in the game with Oklahoma. The good news is defensive coordinator Tony Gibson has his banged up defensive unit playing quite nicely. Texas comes to Morgantown with a 5-5 record and 4-3 in conference, but they’ve been very competitive in two of their three conference losses, losing 29-24 to Oklahoma and then lost to Oklahoma State the following week 13- 10 in overtime.

* * * * *

While the football result was pleasing overall, there wasn’t much to like about Friday’s basketball opener with Texas A&M in the Armed Forces Classic in Germany. For awhile the Mountaineers looked like maybe they could be worthy of their number 11 ranking as they enjoyed a 13 point 26-13 lead with 8:24 left in the first half, but the Aggies went on a largely uncontested 32-12 run to lead 45-38 at the half. A&M built the lead to as many as 29, 84-55, before posting an 88-65 final score.

I think many around the program knew this team would suffer from the unexpected loss of Elijah Macon and the half season suspension of Esa Ahmad; I’m not sure many expected WVU to be a non-factor against the Aggies. There is a bright side. Coach Bob Huggins has time to get this team better as the non-conference potion of the schedule should provide some respite for several games. Also, keep in mind that the Aggies are expected to be a top 15 type team this season.

Return to top