WVU football: Trickett earns nod against Kansas State
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- If no other good could come from Saturday's loss to Texas Tech, at least West Virginia's days of deliberating over the identity of its starting quarterback came to an end.
Clint Trickett played from start to finish and didn't yield to Paul Millard because of injury or communication of effectiveness in the 37-27 loss to the Red Raiders.
"He played pretty good for the most part," offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson said. "And it's not like we're sitting there trying to mess with their minds. They know who it is."
That would be Trickett. Coach Dana Holgorsen named Trickett the starter for Saturday's 3:45 p.m. game at Kansas State (2-4, 0-3 Big 12). It will be televised by Fox Sports 1.
Holgorsen didn't reveal his starter for the Texas Tech game until Trickett trotted onto the field in the first quarter. Holgorsen said Thursday he anticipated playing Trickett and Millard, but that never happened.
"He and Paul were splitting the reps (in practice) but I wanted to see how it went (in the game)," Holgorsen said. "I thought about it after the first couple of drives, but after that, he started moving the ball and I felt pretty good about it."
Trickett was 27-for-43 for 254 yards and a touchdown and, at one point, led WVU on a season-best run of five consecutive scoring drives. He also had his share of poor throws and was fortunate to have an interception erased by a pass interference penalty on a drive that ended in a touchdown.
He said afterward he expected this week to be another battle with Millard.
"We didn't win," said Trickett, who said the sprained AC joint (acromioclavicular joint) in his throwing shoulder suffered against Oklahoma State was fine during the week and the game. "It's not like I did enough to win, so I expect it to be a competition in practice."
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HOLGORSEN SETTLED something else quickly after the loss that dropped WVU below .500 for the first time since a 1-2 start to the 2008 season. He confessed to a game management error in the first quarter.
Holgorsen opted to go for a first down on fourth-and-14 at Texas Tech's 26-yard line in the first quarter. The Red Raiders led 10-0, but WVU had driven from its 11-yard line and was only deterred along the way by a personal foul and a holding penalty at the end of the drive.
Holgorsen disputed both calls, particularly the personal foul on center Pat Eger after receiver Jordan Thompson had been thrown to the ground well after the whistle.
The combination created a third-and-30 and running back Charles Sims gained back 16 yards to set up the decision that Holgorsen would later regret.
"We were moving the ball, but the penalties just kept backing us up," he said. "Whether you agree with them or you don't, you've got to play through them. But we'd been moving the ball and we felt pretty good where we were offensively."
In the fourth quarter, Texas Tech scored the second of three unanswered touchdowns to go ahead 30-27, as opposed to tying the score 30-30. The Red Raiders would score again to go up 37-27 and left WVU had just 61 seconds left to find 10 points, as opposed to just a touchdown.
"I do regret the decision," he said. "I should have kicked it. What I was thinking at that point was we felt good moving the ball and I saw them take it right down the field and score two times in a row. I felt like touchdowns were going to be important."
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DURING HIS explanation, Holgorsen reviewed the sequence and said it was fourth-and-2. He apparently misspoke. Dawson said he and Holgorsen quickly worked their way through the decision to go for it and then picked a play. That play was a throw into the end zone that was as far away from receiver Kevin White as it was from receiver Daikiel Shorts.
The point, though, was that it was a play designed to pick up 14 or more yards and not 2 or more yards.
"We know what they're going to do better than anybody else does," Dawson said of the Red Raiders and the links and the familiarity between the two coaching staffs. "We knew were going to get man-to-man coverage outside. That was something we talked about coming into the game - we had to take a lot of shots outside based on the way they play defense.
"So we knew it was going to be a man-to-man coverage and we knew their cornerback was 5-foot-6. Kevin's 6-5. We wanted to give him a shot to make a play, but it didn't work out."
White ended up angling toward the middle of the field and got tangled up with his defender, but fell to the ground. The ball was nowhere near him, though, and Trickett had a quick talk with Shorts as they jogged off the field.
"Kevin ran a post and Daikiel broke his route off," Dawson said. "The ball was to Daikiel, but he broke it off. He should have kept his route higher. I thought he was throwing it to Kevin initially until I talked to Clint. If that ball was to Kevin, good God, that would be really bad."
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HOLGORSEN is 20-13 as WVU's coach. In his 13 losses, the Mountaineers have been outscored 154-41 in the first quarter.
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WVU's NOV. 2 game at TCU will begin at 3:30 p.m. and be televised by ESPNU.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at email@example.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.