Holgorsen sees something special in Mountaineers

By Michael Carvelli

Holgorsen sees something special in Mountaineers

Before the ball was even kicked off to start No. 4 West Virginia’s game against No. 15 Texas Saturday, Mountaineer head coach Dana Holgorsen saw something he liked about his team.

“We had to drag those guys off the field in warmups because they wanted to get out there,” he said. “We didn’t sub very much because the guys that were out there just didn’t want to come out of the game.

“They handled it well, based on how we traveled and how we acted in the locker room before the game, and we really played with a sense of urgency.”

It was West Virginia’s first road win against a top-15 team since its 21-18 victory over then-No. 13 Virginia Tech in 2002.

Holgorsen saw the win as a potential sign that some good things could be coming soon for the Mountaineers. It’s the first time they have been ranked in the top five since the end of the 2007 season.

“I’ve got some guys that believe. I like the way this team plays together,” Holgorsen said. “Every game’s going to be competitive, and each and every team in this conference is going to bring something different to the table. You’ve just got to take them one at a time and keep playing together as a team.”

One of the things the second-year head coach was most impressed with in Saturday’s win was how well his team was able to put the finishing touches on the win over the Longhorns.

“We had to overcome some adversity on all three sides, which we did,” he said. “Those are some qualities of a good team, there’s no question. We’ve got to continue to keep playing like that.”

WVU got the job done on fourth down vs. Texas

At the end of the first quarter of Saturday’s 48-45 win over Texas, the No. 8 West Virginia football team found itself in a difficult spot facing fourth down with four yards to go from the Longhorns’ 40-yard line.

After a Tyler Bitancurt missed field goal earlier in the quarter, WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen opted to send his offense back out on the field to try to pick up the first down and extend the drive.

On the next play, Texas was able to reach senior quarterback Geno Smith and force what appeared to be a turnover on downs until the officials stepped in and said Texas had called a timeout prior to the snap. Then, on their second chance at the fourth-down conversion out of the timeout, Smith found senior inside receiver Tavon Austin, who turned a short under route into a 40-yard touchdown that gave the Mountaineers a 14-7 lead.

It turns out that would be just the beginning of WVU’s good fortunes on third and fourth downs against the Longhorns.

“You knew it was going to be a tough task to slow them down,” said Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. “Our guys battled like crazy, got them into third downs. It’s all about stops when you play an offense like that.”

While they were only able to successful convert on three of the 12 third downs they faced, the Mountaineers were 5 for 5 on fourth downs, all of which played vital roles in drives that would end in three touchdowns for the West Virginia offense.

The pressure of having to convert on that final down was something Smith and the rest of the West Virginia offense embraced. They knew they had a job to do and wanted to do what it could to get the job done in order to put more points on the board.

“It’s how we play. We play as a team, we fight as a team. No matter what it takes to win the game, that’s what we’re going to do,” Smith said. “Coach did a great job managing the situations. He kept us out there on the field and trusted us to get first downs.”

Read more here: http://www.thedaonline.com/sports/holgorsen-sees-something-special-in-mountaineers-1.2922975#.UHSTORh9mTQ
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