Under Review: West Virginia’s 2014 Season (Part One)


Another college football season has come and gone and so has another WVU football season. The 2014 season provided a plethora of ups and downs, but in the end, while displaying a better record than last season — the Mountaineers took a nosedive near the end and couldn’t claim a bowl victory.

In this three part series, we’ll take a look at what happened to the 2014 Mountaineers game-by-game:

Game One: 

Despite falling to Alabama in the season opener, there was a lot of good that came from starting the season 0-1.

Right from the get-go, head coach Dana Holgorsen named Clint Trickett the starting quarterback. In 2013 the Mountaineers rode the quarterback carousel, not knowing who would be under center each game, but this season Trickett was deemed “the guy.”

Many were skeptical is both Trickett and West Virginia’s chances versus Alabama, and in the end, the Mountaineers did fall short, but the loss garnered a moral victory.

Trickett played immensely well and not just in terms of numbers. He looked sharp and was easily more comfortable in Holgorsen’s offense compared to a season ago. Not to mention, the tandem of Trickett and wide receiver Kevin White was born.

Maybe, just maybe if a few more plays were made by West Virginia, the Mountaineers could have snuck out of Atlanta with a win. The close game against Alabama sparked confidence in the team and in fans.

Game Two: 

There wasn’t too much to discuss following West Virginia’s blowout win over Towson. Pitching a shut out, Trickett went 34-40 for 348-yards and two touchdowns. WVU fans also saw four rushing touchdowns from four different players including highly touted prospect, quarterback William Crest.

It was a game in which the Mountaineers connected on all cylinders, and although Towson — Division I – CAA school — was considered a weak opponent, it’s still difficult to hand someone a shut out in college football.

Game Three: 

In week three, the Mountaineers traveled to play Maryland in a game that had a lot riding on it.

In 2013, the Terps handed West Virginia one of its most embarrassing losses in recent memory. Maryland throttled Hogorsen and company, 34-0.

Sep 13, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers kicker Josh Lambert (86) and holder Michael Molinari (48) watch the game winning field goal over the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The story, however, was different this last time around. Last season there was a lot of talk about how WVU started games, but never finished. The Mountaineers jumped out to a 28-6 lead in the second quarter, but surrendered the lead, allowing Maryland to tie the game in the fourth quarter.

WVU permitted Maryland’s William Likely to return a punt for a 69-yard touchdown. This was the first showing of what was an unpredictable, less-than-stellar, special teams for West Virginia.

It was a fast start, but after laying off the throttle, the game was knotted at 37. It begged the question: Can WVU finish what it started?

Ultimately, the Mountaineers prevailed. A 47-yard, game-winning field goal from Josh Lambert as time expired gave West Virginia the victory.

Even though a win is a win, a few seeds were planted — the special teams appeared vulnerable, and Josh Lambert gave us a glimpse of the consistent kicker he’s become.

Game Four: 

When the Sooners came to Morgantown, it gave West Virginia a chance to knockoff a nationally ranked team and state its case for a legitimate contender in the Big 12.

In the first half it appeared that the Mountaineers could hang with the Sooners. The game was tied at the half 24-24, but momentum shifted toward Oklahoma as West Virginia’s special teams surrendered a 100-yard kickoff return just before the half.

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That hurt, but in the second half Samaje Perine was the killer. The Sooner’s freshman, backup, running back amassed 242-yards and four touchdowns on the game.

The Mountaineers had no answer for the Sooners ground game and Holgorsen’s squad fell, yet again, to a nationally ranked team.

Through four games, West Virginia displayed a 2-2 record. At .500, the Mountaineers were still okay in terms of being a contender. Two legitimate losses, one to a college football playoff team and the other to a tough (at the start) Oklahoma team.

Even though a win over Oklahoma or Alabama would’ve shaken things up, the best for West Virginia was yet to come.