MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - What West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen liked about the penalty given to safety Darwin Cook for targeting a receiver in the loss to Baylor was that the officials reviewed the call and reversed the decision to eject and suspend Cook.
What Holgorsen didn't like was that the Mountaineers were nevertheless penalized 15 yards because Cook did what he's supposed to do. Holgorsen said this week the penalty was "horrendous."
"That was the worst call ever," he said. "It was bad."
That's what people have chosen to remember about Holgorsen's review of the play, but what he said before that ought to have everyone's attention.
"For specific reasons that I won't go into," he said, "they were looking for that."
You could be forgiven for thinking WVU believes its cornerbacks and safeties are being targeted by opponents and officials for the way they hit receivers and running backs on the sideline or the middle of the field.
But an apology isn't necessary. That interpretation is the reality.
"No doubt in my mind that's the case," WVU safeties coach Tony Gibson said. "Look at the Oklahoma State game. It came down to crunch time and No. 81 (Jhajuan Seales) came across the middle and Cook broke on the ball and basically knocked the kid out on the field. They had to stop the game.
"All of that Baylor sees that on film, I'm sure. I don't know if they say, 'Hey, watch this,' to the officials. It's just like us as coaches. If we see a team holding or if we see something going on, we alert the officials to it. I think with our kids being big hitters, they've gotten that reputation and I'm sure that's being put into the ear of the officials."
Whether reality or theory, the timing is interesting. WVU (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) plays host to No. 16 Texas Tech (6-0, 3-0) at noon Saturday at Mountaineer Field. The Homecoming game will be televised by Fox Sports 1.
A year ago, the Red Raiders beat WVU 49-14 and Jace Amaro riddled the defense with five receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown. Linebacker Terence Garvin knocked Amaro out of the game with a clean hit that wasn't penalized. Amaro missed the rest of the regular season.
"There is no revenge plot or anything like that," the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Amaro said.