WVU football: Coach says people who riot should ''get used to wins like that''
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia's football team didn't get home until around 3:30 a.m. Sunday after the previous night's win at Texas. By then, the post-game chaos in Sunnyside was a memory that wouldn't reach Coach Dana Holgorsen until Monday.
"I didn't see any of it," he said at his press conference Tuesday. "I worry about what I can control and what I can control is what happened in Austin, which was getting guys focused for the game, playing the game and getting ready to get on the plane and fly back here and then getting then to understand they have to show up Sunday and put (the win) in the past."
Holgorsen said he didn't know what happened just outside the downtown campus except "I heard there was riots and mace" and was instead focused on getting ready for Sunday, when the team meets to review the game and get in a light workout.
"Even if I did know about it, what am I going to do about it?" he said. "It's not my responsibility. If it had anything to do with some sort of special win, I would encourage everyone involved to get used to wins like that."
Holgorsen, who has sounded off on his fans and their attitudes toward his team before, didn't specifically address the scene Saturday night that saw people set about 40 fires, trying to flip over cars and clashing with police. He instead wondered why there was such a scene for a win on the first Saturday in October.
"I don't understand what was so special about it if they were using that as some sort of excuse to get rowdy," he said.
Holgorsen said it was a big moment for the program's prestige and the value it has for recruiting and branding, but that it wasn't a cause for such a chaotic celebration.
"Does it count as a championship? No. It counts as one win. It counts as a win the same as Baylor did, which counted as a win the same as Marshall did, minus the conference standing," he said. "Our goal is to win the conference. We're 2-0, but the two wins are equal. There's no difference in the Texas win and the Baylor win.
"If we're fortunate and we prepare hard and get the guys ready to play and we travel smartly and safely and go beat Texas Tech, that counts as a win, too, which is one more win toward winning a championship."
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HOLGORSEN ALSO backed away from the possibility his team is about to encounter a trap game against the Red Raiders (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) on their Homecoming. WVU, ranked fifth, plays host to No. 6 Kansas State Oct. 13.
"I don't know what a trap game is," he said. "You have to play the same every week. If you don't have the ability to understand every week is the game and that you've got to be able to trust the players and coaches and everyone else involved to do the same things every week, you'll get beat. Whether it's a trap game or a quote-unquote big game, it's a game. All it is is a game and you prepare the same for everyone."
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BEFORE LAST WEEK, WVU had played just eight games in Texas. The last was the Sun Bowl in El Paso against Oklahoma State in 1987. The last regular-season game was against SMU in the Cotton Bowl in 1975. Only three of the eight games in the Lone Star state were regular-season games.
The Mountaineers (5-0, 2-0) will play a second regular-season game in Texas in as many weeks against Texas Tech, an occasion that would seem to underscore the travel travails WVU may endure in its first Big 12 season.
Holgorsen said isn't as daunting as many want to make it out to be.
"It's probably a little easier than driving to Cincinnati," he said. "It's the same as flying to South Florida. It's an hour longer than flying to Rutgers. All that's about the same. It was 2 hours, 45 minutes there and 2:15 back. We were on the plane probably an extra hour, so the routine is no different. I don't view it as a big deal. We had zero glitches. There's no difference in my mind."
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THE WVU-TEXAS game was the top-rated college football game in primetime Saturday, earning ratings better than Notre Dame-Miami on NBC and Ohio State-Nebraska on ABC.
The game's 3.2/6 rating was 14 percent higher than the previous week's Texas-Oklahoma State game.
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HOLGORSEN EXTENDED the narrative about injured running back Shawne Alston, who has missed the past two games and barely played in the one before that. Alston, who wasn't with the team for either of the past two games, despite the first being at home, continues to recover from a deep thigh bruise.
Holgorsen said Alston has practiced both of the past two weeks, but that Alston hasn't been able to return to form.
"It's like I said last week," Holgorsen said. "He gave it a go a couple days and it didn't work so we didn't travel with him. He stayed home and got treatment Friday, Saturday and Sunday and was in there (Monday) getting treatment."
Running back Andrew Buie started a third straight game in Alston's place and had career-high totals with 31 carries and 207 yards.
He also caught three passes for 66 yards. Holgorsen had been reluctant just this season to give Buie as much work. He'd welcome Alston's return for that reason.
"He takes that thing 31 times and gets popped 31 times and he' blocking hard and running routes, which is taxing," Holgorsen said. "That wear and tear is something to be concerned with."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.