www.charlestondailymail.com WVU Sports http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2014, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers WVU FOOTBALL: Holgorsen suspends starting CB Worley http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919449 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919449 Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:02:09 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen announced late Monday starting cornerback Daryl Worley has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. The sophomore is not expected to play Saturday when the Mountaineers play host to No. 4 Oklahoma at 7:30 p.m. on Fox.

Worley, from Philadelphia, is third on the team with 17 tackles and has both of the team's interceptions. On the weekly depth chart released earlier in the day, junior Ricky Rumph was listed as Worley's backup.

Travis Bell, who started nine games last season, has played the most behind Worley and starter Terrell Chestnut this season, and WVU has gradually increased the playing time for junior college transfer Jaylon Myers, who was an All-American last season. The Mountaineers will also have fifth-year senior Ishmael Banks back for the Sooners after he was suspended the first three games by the NCAA for an eligibility issue. He started all 12 games last season.

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WVU FOOTBALL: Pressure defense pays off for Mountaineers http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919468 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919468 Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:15:14 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Tony Gibson wasted no time revealing his game plan for Maryland Saturday. West Virginia's defensive coordinator blitzed from the edges on the first snap and generated a sack.

The early pressure was repeated often and played a leading role in the 40-37 win, but it set up a showdown with Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. He kept calling for screen passes to take advantage of WVU's aggression, but the Mountaineers wouldn't relent.

"We didn't want to get away from the pressure because we thought it would work," Gibson said.

It did early, and a sack, an interception and some hasty decisions by quarterback C.J. Brown gave WVU's offense opportunities to go up 28-6 in the middle of the second quarter.

The Terrapins ran the ball with the running back seven times in the final 32 plays and the Mountaineers did what they aim to do and took away the run and tried to contain the pass.

"They didn't even try to run the ball once we were up 28-6," Gibson said. "Their whole game plan changed and then we were trying to throw a lot of coverages at them.

The first didn't work. After WVU took its lead, it took the field at the Maryland 23. Gibson said his safeties confused their assignments on the play and that let receiver Stefon Diggs run free for a 77-yard touchdown.

"We started to do our zone pressure and that's when they hit that big play," Gibson said. "We blew a coverage there and that's bad on our part. But as the game went on, our kids got more confidence believe it or not, even after halftime when we gave up that first play. After that, we stymied them the rest of the way."

It was 28-20 at halftime when a special teams penalty gave Maryland the ball at its 49 before the backup quarterback threw a 26-yard touchdown pass that safety K.J. Dillon made a play on, but somehow missed.

On the first play of the second half, linebacker Brandon Golson angled into the backfield and simply missed Brown, who broke out of a group of four defenders and then ran for a 75-yard touchdown.

It was suddenly 28-27, but Gibson didn't feel as guilty as the scoreboard suggested.

"When we got up like we did, we knew they were going to start throwing it, so obviously we were more coverage-oriented in our game plan at that point," Gibson said. "We didn't want to leave our guys singled up as much, especially with the matchups with (Deon) Long and Stefon Diggs. At halftime we made a few adjustments, and I thought one of the best adjustments we made was the first call we made after halftime, but we just got lost in it."

WVU allowed only 122 yards of offense the rest of the way and produced a list of positives that bode well for the next challenge. The Mountaineers (2-1) play host to No. 4 Oklahoma (3-0) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on Fox.

"I hate giving up 37 points - and we gave up a punt return touchdown and we fumbled a punt," Gibson said. "I still thought the kids responded and kept fighting. We've got stuff to fix. We can't give up one-play drives and we gave up two. We've got to eliminate big plays, but I like our effort."

Maryland's running backs carried nine times for 2 yards. The constant pressure produced two sacks, but a list of hits and hurries conditioned Brown to play faster. He threw early on some routes and threw short on others, typically in spots that helped WVU get off the field.

"They were just dropping coverage," Brown said. "They knew about the outside (receivers) and we hurt them early and in the second half. That was their big adjustment. They were able to get a little pressure on third down and Cover Zero."

Gibson backed off a little, but still trusted his defenders enough to blitz and leave his defensive backs in one-on-one coverage because the blitzers and the defensive line were impacting the plays. It worked again and again and Maryland's only scores in the second half were on a punt return touchdown and a field goal after WVU fumbled a punt at its 9.

The Terrapins actually lost 4 yards on that possession as WVU had one of its seven stops on seven third downs after halftime. Maryland started the game 4-for-5 on third down and finished 4-for-15.

On the seven third downs in the second half, Brown was sacked for a loss of 6 yards and threw three incomplete passes and Maryland ran three times for minus-12 yards. The last four third downs needed 4 yards for a first down, 6 yards for a touchdown and 7 yards and 1 yard for a first down.

"It was a great effort," Gibson said. "The kids didn't panic at all on the sideline. Their attitude was great. I felt like they were always confident in what they were doing and they actually got the momentum back after we stopped then when we fumbled that punt. We've still got to clean up some stuff, but I'm really happy with the effort."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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WVU FOOTBALL: Sooners preparing for 'disrespectful' fans http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919470 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919470 Mon, 15 Sep 2014 21:12:09 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia and Oklahoma will play their third nationally televised night game in as many years when the Mountaineers play host to the No. 4-ranked Sooners Saturday.

The 7:30 p.m. kickoff will be televised by Fox.

"It will be as good as any atmosphere in college football," WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said Monday on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference. "Our guys will be fired up for it. The fan base is going to be excited. They'll be getting it on all day and they'll be having a good time with it."

WVU lost 16-7 in Norman, Oklahoma, last season and 50-49 at home in 2012. The Sooners who played in that game did not foster the fondest of memories when talking up the Mountaineer Field crowd Monday.

"They're loud and rude," defensive end Chuka Ndulue said. "It's really loud over there. On defense, we're not going to get a lot of it, but they're very loud and very rude, almost like (Texas) Tech, but I want to say (WVU fans) are the worst.

To call them the worst is more of a compliment than a detriment, and Ndulue understood and appreciated the fervent, though fierce support.

"The fans are disrespectful, but those are great fans," he said. "They're backing up their team and they'll do whatever they can to get in your head."

Junior receiver Durron Neal also called the fans "disrespectful," but he too tipped his cap to the tactics. He wasn't known in 2012 like he is now as the team's second-leading receiver, but he was nevertheless a target.

"I was a freshman and they knew some stuff about me," he said. "They really take pride in trying to get in your head and getting you off your game."

n n n

THE SOONERS (3-0) will play without leading rusher Keith Ford, who could miss a few more weeks with a broken foot.

"He won't play this week for sure," coach Bob Stoops said. "It's the non-weight bearing bone and there's a slight, small fracture, from what I understand. Since it's the non-weight bearing bone, it can be anywhere from two weeks to three. You just don't know, but for sure he won't play this week."

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Ford has 194 yards and five touchdowns on 34 carries, but the Sooners have split 87 carries pretty evenly among their top three rushers. The 5-11, 245-pound Samaje Perine has 32 carries for 171 yards and a touchdown and 6-1, 220-pound Alex Ross has 21 carries for 132 yards and three touchdowns.

They have more touchdowns (nine) than negative yards (seven).

Oklahoma is also without star recruit Joe Mixon, who was suspended for the season last month after he was charged with allegedly punching a female student in the face.

n n n

HOLGORSEN SAID his leading rusher will be ready to play Saturday. Rushel Shell, who carried 27 times for 98 yards and a touchdown against Maryland, left the game in the fourth quarter with an arm injury and did not return.

Shell had never carried more in a game and WVU hadn't given one running back as many carries since Andrew Buie ran 31 times against Texas in the 2013 season. Shell has 207 yards and two touchdowns on 51 carries, which is considerable more work than Wendell Smallwood, whose 23 carries are second on the team.

Linebacker Wes Tonkery, who sat out with a leg injury, will also play, Holgorsen said. No one else is expected to miss the game.

"We're in good shape," he said.

n n n

WVU CORNERBACK Ishmael Banks will be eligible to play this week. He was suspended for the first three games for an undisclosed university issue. He started all 12 games last season. Terrell Chestnut has started all three games this season.

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEC dominates AP poll; Herd, WVU pick up votes http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919557 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919557 Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:23:22 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

South Carolina's win over Georgia vaulted the Gamecocks 10 spots to No. 14 in The Associated Press college football poll, giving the Southeastern Conference an unprecedented seven teams in the top 15.

West Virginia (2-1), which won at Maryland, 40-37, picked up 14 points in the "others receiving votes" category. Marshall (3-0) routed Ohio, 44-14, and collected 28 points.

The SEC had eight teams ranked for the third straight week and five teams in the top 10 for two weeks running. Alabama is third behind No. 1 Florida State and No. 2. Oregon, followed by No. 5 Auburn, No. 6, Texas A&M, No. 8, LSU and No. 10 Mississippi.

Georgia fell to No. 13 after losing to the Gamecocks 38-35 and Missouri was No. 18.

Florida State, which was off, has 37 first-place votes, losing one to the Ducks, who have 17.

Oklahoma held its position at No. 4 after beating Tennessee, Baylor moved up one to No. 7 with a rout over Buffalo and No. 9 Notre Dame was back in the top 10 for the first time since 2012 after moving up two spots.

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WVU SOCCER: Mountaineers' late scores deliver women's win http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919596 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919596 Mon, 15 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MORGANTOWN - Four scores in 6 minutes helped the No. 13-ranked West Virginia University women's soccer team erase a one-goal deficit and earn a 4-1 victory over Duquesne, today, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

Sunday's win pushes the Mountaineers' (5-2-1) unbeaten streak to five matches.

The Mountaineers conclude their eight-match homestand next weekend. WVU plays host to La Salle at 7 p.m. on Friday, and Villanova at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Friday is WVU Faculty/Staff Night, and all faculty and staff will receive a coupon via email for free admission.

Sunday is a "Dollar Day," with all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas available for $1 each.

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WVU FOOTBALL: Trickett named Walter Camp Player of Week http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919597 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140915/DM03/140919597 Mon, 15 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MORGANTOWN - After throwing for the second-most single game passing yards in school history, West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett has been named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week.

Trickett is the fifth West Virginia player to earn Walter Camp Player of the Week honors since 2004, and the first since two-time winner Geno Smith (Sept. 2 and Sept. 30, 2012).

Trickett helped the Mountaineers to a 40-37 win over Maryland on Saturday, finishing 37-of-49 for 511 yards and four touchdowns. The 37 completions were the third-most in a single game in WVU history, as Trickett joined former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith as the only Mountaineers to throw for more than 500 yards in a single game.

The senior has thrown for more than 345 yards in each of his first three games, ranking him No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 4 nationally with 408 passing yards per game.

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WVU FOOTBALL: West Virginia shows grit in late win http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140914/DM03/140919581 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140914/DM03/140919581 Sun, 14 Sep 2014 20:43:13 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Whether the post-game walk was from the field to the locker room, the stands to the parking lot, the press box to the interviews or the sofa to the refrigerator, the observation seemed the same.

There's no way West Virginia from 2013 could win the game it won Saturday.

"Previous teams probably would have said, 'Enough's enough,' and shut it down," Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said. "But I like this team a lot. I like the camaraderie they've got. I love the coaching staff's camaraderie they've got going on. There are a bunch of guys who believe in each other and they kept fighting.

"They had opportunities to say, 'No more,' but they didn't cave into it. There were so many ups and downs and good things and bad things. It was a heck of a football game, but I'm certainly glad we came out on top."

The Mountaineers (2-1), who play host to No. 4 Oklahoma (3-0) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on Fox, committed four turnovers and finished with a minus-three turnover margin. They had three scoreless red zone possessions and as many scores (two) as turnovers inside the opponent's 20-yard line. There were six scoreless trips inside Maryland's 40.

There was a blocked field goal, a turnover on a muffed punt return and a Terrapins punt return touchdown when WVU's coverage team couldn't have been much more out of position.

There were leads of 14-0, 21-6, 28-6 and 37-30 and a lot of reminders that none of that was new to the Mountaineers. They lost eight games last season, and could blame the mistakes they made for many of them, but four losses came after leading in the fourth quarter and a fifth followed a lead in the third.

"I don't even know if we would have been in the game at that point last year," WVU offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. "So many bad things happened, but we never quit, which was the biggest positive."

The Terrapins forced their way back into the game with a 77-yard touchdown pass on a busted coverage in WVU's secondary, a 26-yard touchdown pass that went through a defender's hands and a 75-yard touchdown run by the quarterback on the first play of the second half.

Yet WVU's defense did all it could to keep the team in the game. Maryland started 4-for-5 on third down and finished 4-for-15, including 0-for-7 after halftime. Following the score to start the second half, Maryland managed 122 yards and actually lost three yards and had to settle for a field goal on the possession after WVU fumbled a punt return at its 9 leading 37-27.

"Probably the most up and down football game I've ever been a part of," WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said.

This was the second straight season WVU allowed 37 point to Maryland, but this one felt so much different.

"Where I feel the kids have grown from a year ago is would we have been able to win that game last year?" Gibson said. "I don't think so. I don't know that, but I don't think so. I think the kids have matured and believe in the system on both sides of the ball so much that they kept fighting and played 60 minutes of football like every second counted, which everyone got to see was true."

The surest sign of WVU's growth was on offense, though. The Mountaineers had a record 108 snaps for 34:36 of possession and 694 yards. They were able to overcome 37 Maryland points a year after they lost 37-0. WVU had no pass play cover more than 12 yards last season. The first play Saturday was a 50-yard screen pass to Wendell Smallwood. There were five pass plays of at least 12 yards in just the first quarter.

The Mountaineers were potent from start to finish and they avoided overtime, where they ventured three times and lost twice last season, with a certain drive to end the game. It was attached to one last error when Maryland's punt was allowed to hit at the 20 and roll to the 5, but the Mountaineers went about executing their plan.

The Terrapins kept their safeties back so WVU couldn't throw deep passes. WVU ran three times for a first down and then once more to make Maryland think.

"We're not scared to run the ball in those situations," Holgorsen said.

The runs went to Dreamius Smith and on third-and-9 at the WVU 22, Dustin Garrison caught a short screen pass and made three defenders miss to gain 13 yards.

"I can't tell you how big a play that was in the whole scope of things," Dawson said.

Neither had a catch or carry to that point, and Smith had running backs coach JaJuan Seider questioning his play during the week. Those two and Andrew Buie, who ran for 23 yards after a Rushel Shell fumble in the third quarter, showed off the depth WVU has been trying to develop on offense.

"We told those guys all along, 'We're going to need you, we're going to need you, we're going to need,'" Holgorsen said. "They got in there and ran hard, and at the end we did not want (Maryland) to get the ball back. I would have liked to get it a little farther down the field to make it a little bit more favorable a field goal."

He still did with a nervy decision. The ball was at Maryland's 34 with 9 seconds left and WVU threw a quick pass outside for 4 yards with 4 seconds remaining. That set up the game-winning 47-yard field goal by Josh Lambert, who is 1-for-5 in his career from 50 yards or more.

"I thought we executed it perfectly," Holgorsen said. "I know people probably had some choice words for me."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers pile up offensive plays, upset Edsall http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140914/DM03/140919584 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140914/DM03/140919584 Sun, 14 Sep 2014 20:39:25 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia's offense made history in Saturday's victory against Maryland. The Mountaineers made Randy Edsall mad in the process.

WVU snapped the ball a school-record 108 times in the 40-37 victory at Byrd Stadium, or as Edsall described it, "close to two games almost."

The Maryland coach was short on tolerance following 3 hours, 41 minutes of football. Edsall's team had only 65 snaps and had the ball for 9:32 less than the Mountaineers. The Terrapins made 110 tackles, more than double WVU's 54 tackles.

"I think there's a problem with college football, I really do, with that many plays," he said. "You take the number of plays that happen over a year that these kids will end up playing ... it takes a toll on them."

WVU is averaging 91 plays per game, which accounts for the 69 in the opener against Alabama. Only Northern Illinois and Western Kentucky average more.

n n n

JOSH LAMBERT set the stage with the second game-winning field goal of his career and then stood atop it to clear up what has become a common misconception about his relationship with his head coach. Dana Holgorsen said he hasn't talked to Lambert "since he got on campus," but the redshirt sophomore begs to differ.

"I haven't talked to him," Lambert said.

There is purpose to the distance. Holgorsen said he leaves the special teams players to special teams coordinator Joe DeForest. Lambert said DeForest requested space from the head coach long ago. It paid off in College Park, Md. Lambert had his second field goal of the season blocked in the fourth quarter, but no one said anything to him afterward.

"I mean, I know I missed," he said. "What's the point of emphasizing it?"

When WVU drove from its 5-yard line to the Maryland 30 and set up Lambert's decisive 47-yard kick, DeForest simply reminded his kicker to breathe.

"Sometimes he forgets to breath, which can really hurt your condition," DeForest said.

Lambert then stutter stepped upon the snap because he couldn't hear the snap count and hastily strode into the kick.

"I was anticipating the snap a took a step and realized, you know, 'Uh oh,'" said Lambert, who made a game-winner at TCU last season. "I was able to gather myself very fast and put it through."

Lambert said he thought he let the ball sail right, but quickly turned from the play and ran toward his sideline, which had players pouring onto the field.

When Lambert has missed a field goal in one of his 15 career games and had a chance to kick again in the game, he's made six of the seven subsequent attempts.

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THE WIN WAS eventful for DeForest. In addition to the blocked field goal, WVU allowed a 69-yard punt return touchdown that tied the score 37-37 and fumbled away a punt return that set up a field goal to make it 37-30. Before that, WVU committed a personal foul for kick catch interference. That gave the Terrapins the ball at their 49 and they scored five plays later.

In addition to the winning field goal, Jarrod Harper blocked a punt through the end zone for a safety and a 30-27 lead and the Mountaineers scored eight plays after the free kick for a 37-27 lead. Maryland's dangerous Stefon Diggs returned two kickoffs for just 43 yards and kicker Michael Molinari had three touchbacks on six kickoffs.

"It was spotty," DeForest said. "We covered kickoffs great. We blocked a punt, then we dropped a punt, then we make a field goal. It was a split, a wash."

All of that fails to mention Jordan Thompson's decision to let a punt bounce at about his 20 and roll to be downed at his 5 to set up WVU's final drive with 2:35 remaining. Thompson, who didn't play receiver because of an ankle injury, fumbled his previous return.

n n n

LINEBACKER WES TONKERY (leg) did not play. He was injured nine plays into the prior week's win against Towson. Junior Isaiah Bruce started in Tonkery's place and made five tackles and two tackles for a loss.

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WVU HAS SCORED in every quarter of every game this season and needed Lambert's last-second kick to extend that streak. It ended a 13-play drive that was alarmingly patient, started with four runs and set up Lambert with a pass outside for a 4-yard gain with four seconds remaining.

That left Clint Trickett with 511 yards passing, the second-highest total in school history and the best in a road game. He added a second career-high with four touchdown passes. Trickett was named Sunday as the Walter Camp national offensive player of the week.

"Sitting here without saying Clint Trickett is a big part of this would be bad," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. "He makes great decisions. He was careless with the ball one time (Saturday), and I think that was a really good play by them with the pick. I thought the guy baited him into a good pick, and that's going to happen sometimes. He's playing very, very efficient football with the weapons we have around him."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. Hs blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers survive miscues, edge Maryland on last-second field goal http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140913/DM03/140919631 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140913/DM03/140919631 Sat, 13 Sep 2014 18:48:16 -0400 By Mike Casazza COLLEGE PARK, Md. ­- The most remarkable occurrence among the many that happened here Saturday was not that West Virginia won against a team that held it without a point and just 175 yards of offense last season.

It was that the Mountaineers made so many errors that would have easily explained another loss to Maryland, but still prevailed.

WVU weathered everything it did to itself on a rainy, gloomy day, be it special teams errors, dropped interceptions, turnovers or empty scoring opportunities, to beat the Terrapins 40-37 before a crowd of 48,154 at Byrd Stadium.

"Everyone needed this game," Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said. "What a game. I don't know if I've ever been a part of a game when the momentum swings went back and forth that drastically. I'm proud our team was able to get the victory at the end."

WVU, which lost to the Terrapins 37-0 in Baltimore last season, survived when sophomore Josh Lambert stutter-stepped before the snap, but managed to push a 47-yard field goal between the uprights as time expired. He had a 43-yard attempt blocked earlier in the fourth quarter.

"I was anticipating the snap and took a step and realized, you know, 'Uh oh,'" said Lambert, who had a game-winning field goal at TCU last season. "I was able to gather myself very fast and put it through."

His kick capped a drive that began with 2:35 to go at the WVU 5-yard line with the Mountaineers showing three timeouts. West Virginia started with four straight runs and ended with a nervy pass to the sideline for a 4-yard gain with four seconds remaining to set up Lambert's kick.

"I thought we executed it perfectly," Holgorsen said. "I know people probably had some choice words for me."

Fittingly, though, WVU made the situation harder than it had to be. Jordan Thompson, who fumbled a punt return to set up a Maryland field goal in the fourth quarter, let a punt bounce at the 20 line and roll toward his end zone.

Thompson, who was second on the team with 10 receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games of the season, was also playing with an ankle injury and couldn't play receiver.

WVU faced third-and-9 early on the final drive, but running back Dustin Garrison, who didn't have a touch all game, turned a screen pass into a 13-yard gain.

WVU offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said he called the play into a Maryland defense that provided the "worst look possible."

"He made a great play," Dawson said. "Ultimately it comes down to guys bailing out the coaches. We're not the smartest guys on Earth, and Dustin bailed us out. ... He makes three people miss and gets the first down, and if he doesn't do that on third down, we don't win the game. Give props to Dustin. That was a great play at the most critical part of the game."

Garrison didn't get out of bounds, so the clock kept ticking once the chains moved. A quick pass to Mario Alford lost a yard before Daikiel Shorts, playing for Thompson, caught a pass for 17 yards. WVU called its first timeout of the half on first down at the Maryland 49 and Garrison then ran for 10 yards for another first down and another brief stoppage.

Garrison ran again and quarterback Clint Trickett completed a short pass to Alford again and Alford was able to get out of bounds at Maryland's 30 with four seconds left to set up Lambert's kick.

"I'm used to functioning without timeouts," Holgorsen said. "I just am, not because we have poor clock management skills or we don't know what to do there. We do so much of that stuff and we score so quickly at times that we're able to play like that without using (timeouts) because our tempo is so good."

Maryland's C.J. Brown passed for 241 yards and a long touchdown to Stefon Diggs and added 161 yards rushing, but his running backs totaled two yards on nine carries. Diggs caught five passes for 127 yards.

Trickett's final pass left him 37-for-49 for career-high totals of 511 yards and four touchdowns. Kevin White caught 13 passes - the second-highest total in school history - for 216 yards and a touchdown and Mario Alford added 11 receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

"I barely even did anything," Trickett said. "I'm throwing it two yards to those guys and then they take it 90 yards and they make me look good."

WVU had 694 yards of offense on a record 108 snaps, and Rushel Shell had 98 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries, but also lost a fumble at the Maryland 16 early in the third quarter when he put a move on a defender and simply dropped the ball.

That was one of WVU's four turnovers and two empty red zone possessions in five opportunities. The Mountaineers finished with six possessions inside the 40 that gained no points.

"I don't even know if we would have been in this game last year because so many bad things happened," Dawson said. "We never quit, which is the biggest positive. We could have won that game by a couple (scores) if we executed right in all three phases."

Indeed, WVU spread its miscues around the locker room. Trickett threw an interception and Shell and Alford committed red-zone turnovers. Thompson fumbled a punt return, Lambert had his first kick blocked and Maryland's Will Likely returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown - after linebacker Isaiah Bruce dropped an interception - to tie the score 37-37 in the third quarter.

WVU led 28-6 in the second quarter, but Maryland got back into it with a 77-yard touchdown pass to Diggs to make it 28-16 and then a 75-yard touchdown run by Brown on the first play of the second half to make the score 28-27.

Maryland gained only 122 yards the rest of the game and was 0-for-7 on third down after halftime - and 0-for-10 after a 4-for-5 start.

"The kids gave great effort and were confident on the sideline the whole four quarters," said WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, whose group forced a field goal after Thompson's fumble gave Maryland the ball at the WVU 9 down 37-27. "They felt like they could go out and make a play and get stops, so I'm really happy with that."

The previous time WVU was shut out, it followed a 35-0 defeat against Virginia Tech in 2001 with a 21-18 win in Blacksburg, Va., the following season. Saturday's outcome was the fifth time in 50 years when WVU lost to a team by 30 or more points one season and won the following season.

Also important is that WVU has now won 14 of the past 21 regular-season matchups against Maryland and played in a bowl game in 12 of those seasons.

"That was a tough one out there today," Maryland coach Randy Edsall said. "It was a hard-fought battle for 60 minutes and it came down to the end. We came up one or two plays short, but I was proud of our guys to fight back the way that they did. We got ourselves back in the game to tie it up and then we just could not get over the hump on third downs offensively."

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WVU FOOTBALL: Holgorsen's plan changes with confident offense http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140911/DM03/140919777 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140911/DM03/140919777 Thu, 11 Sep 2014 20:57:07 -0400 By Mike Casazza COLLEGE PARK, Md. - While it's easy this week to remember the score from last time West Virginia played Maryland in football, it's just as convenient, and ultimately more useful, to remember the response.

WVU lost 37-0 to the Terrapins last season, and the school's first shutout loss since 2001 and an unbelievable outcome for a team ranked No. 5 not even a year earlier.

"It was a tough pill to swallow and there was a lot of self-examination that was going on after that game. What could we have done differently?" WVU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson said. "But if you look back on it, I think that was really who we were at that point last year. We weren't very good and I don't know if there was much we could have done differently."

That had to change in Holgorsen's third season in charge and second in the offensive-minded Big 12. The day after the loss, WVU started making changes to fix what was broken, and the lengthy process arrives at a significant landmark at noon Saturday.

The Mountaineers, who insist they have changed for the better, play at Byrd Stadium (Big Ten Network) against a Maryland (2-0) team that has pretty much the same team it had last season.

"I think our mentality is in a much different place," Holgorsen said. "We're a much more experienced team. We're a more confident team. We play with a lot more energy and effort, and that's hopefully going to make a big difference in the outcome of the game Saturday."

Holgorsen enjoyed arguably his most impressive win a week after the loss to the Terrapins. The Mountaineers beat then-No. 11 Oklahoma State with a depth chart that had 21 changes. Two areas were affected most.

Quinton Spain was moved from left tackle to left guard as one of two changes to the starting lineup of linemen who were at the mercy of Maryland's defensive line. Clint Trickett was named the starting quarterback, the team's third in five games, and Saturday's start will be his ninth in WVU's past 10 games.

Ford Childress started against Maryland last season and had been dealing with a strained pectoral muscle for a few weeks. He tore the muscle on this throwing side in the first half, but never told his coaches and tried to play through the pain and the limitations - he was 11 of 22 for 62 yards and two interceptions, and he couldn't throw deep passes. The day after, WVU knew he was probably out for the rest of the season, and he's since moved on to Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.

"We were bad at that position, among others, and obviously you'd rather have him tell us he was injured rather than try to play through it, but he was a tough kid trying to fight through it," Dawson said. "You can't blame anybody. I give credit to them more than I blame anything we did. They outplayed us."

The Mountaineers (1-1) accepted that and began to understand that part of the reason they were outplayed was because of who and how they were playing. They changed quarterbacks and moved starters and backups around on the offensive line and at receiver.

They tried to build an offense around Trickett, running back Charles Sims and the offensive line.

"A lot of the changes we made after that week helped us," Dawson said. "We had, in our opinion, some people playing out of position. The changes we made solidified a lot of the wrongs we were looking at."

Changing the offense meant moving away from what WVU couldn't do with the players it liked and focusing on what could continue working. That was what worked for that team, though a 4-8 record suggests it didn't work that well.

Holgorsen and Dawson want to play faster than that team did and be able to pass the ball more often and more effectively, so long as they can rely on a quarterback and receivers who know what to do without being reminded.

Already this season, WVU has played faster and more consistently than it did with Trickett last season. The corps of receivers - Kevin White, Mario Alford and Jordan Thompson - is more productive than last season's group, which had only first-year players.

"The way I called plays last year, the way we game-planned last year, we're not doing the same things," Holgorsen said. "We're a different team, and we're able to do different things. We're able to call plays differently. You can just look at the tape over the last two weeks and see that it's a little bit different than what it's been in the past."

That would include the recent past and a window of time influenced by the deflating loss to Maryland. Holgorsen saw his team panic early in that game and then never regain what it lost, and that as much as anything else prompted changes. These Mountaineers are reunited with tactics they'd abandoned. They're again working with what they believe in and they believe they're better because of what happened a season ago.

"It comes down to being confident as coaches, being confident as players, playing with great effort, coaching with great effort, putting a product out there everybody is proud of," Holgorsen said. "I will game plan differently, and I will call plays differently based on our players. I have a ton of confidence in our guys right now. When you have a ton of confidence in your guys, you're going to do things differently."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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WVU BASKETBALL: Mountaineers land four-star recruit http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140910/DM03/140919881 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140910/DM03/140919881 Wed, 10 Sep 2014 21:16:24 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Esa Ahmad, one of the top available high school basketball prospects in the Class of 2015, pledged to West Virginia University on Wednesday.

"I have officially committed to University of West Virginia! I would like to thank everyone who has recruited me!" Ahmad wrote on his Twitter account.

Ahmad, who plays for Shaker Heights (Ohio) High School near Cleveland, chose the

Mountaineers over Ohio State and Maryland. Oregon and Wisconsin were also among Ahmad's finalists, but he trimmed his list to three schools on Aug. 28, according to media reports.

Ahmad is ranked the No. 41 overall prospect by ESPN.com and the No. 48 overall prospect by Scout.com. The 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward averaged 26.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, two blocks and two steals as a junior.

He was named the cleveland.com Player of the Year last season. He is rated a four-star prospect by Scout.com, 247sports.com and ESPN.com.

Ahmad joins a recruiting class that already includes point guard James Bolden and center Levi Cook. Bolden is a 5-11, 160-pound 3-star prospect who attends Holmes High School in Covington, Ky. Cook is a 6-10, 300-pound senior at Huntington Prep.

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WVU FOOTBALL: Maryland outcome important; Holgorsen calls Crest 'dynamic' http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140910/DM03/140919922 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140910/DM03/140919922 Wed, 10 Sep 2014 17:52:03 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN - West Virginia and Maryland have played 21 times in the past 22 seasons, including 20 regular-season games. The Mountaineers are 13-7 in those games as they prepare for Saturday's noon game at Byrd Stadium.

In the 13 seasons in which the Mountaineers won the game, they've played in a bowl game. In the seven seasons in which they lost the game, they've missed a bowl four times, including last season.

"I know what the history says, but we're not going to change our mentality because of what the history says," WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. "After this game, we have nine Big 12 games that are all important. Each and every one of them are important. This game is important because it's the next game. This one is important because it is a regional rivalry game. This one is important because of what happened last year.

"When we sit here a week from today, I'm going to be telling you how important the next one is. I know the media makes a big deal about it. I know the history says a lot about that, but we have to stay on guard from that because the next one is pretty important."

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FRESHMAN WILLIAM CREST played in the third and fourth quarters of Saturday's 54-0 win against Towson. Barring a sudden season-ending injury, Crest will not redshirt this season. He was designated as the team's backup quarterback for the first time this week and Holgorsen said the plan is to redshirt Paul Millard and Skyler Howard.

Holgorsen said Crest is part of WVU's regular plans and that he'd "like to" build a package of plays for Crest for every game.

"(Crest) brings something to the table that's pretty good," Holgorsen said. "He is dynamic, he's physical, he's mature and he's still learning. There were a lot of things that happened (against Towson) that, unfortunately, he's not going to be able to get away with if the game is very close, or if the game is not decided. The good news is that we will practice him a lot."

Crest, who is not allowed to talk to reporters because he's in his first season with the program, completed 3 of 4 passes and ran five times for 27 yards and a touchdown. Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said Crest simply ran the play that was called and didn't change anything at the line of scrimmage, but "I think he's gotten to a point where he could change some things."

Crest's best runs, including his touchdown, were zone read plays that let him decide to keep the ball instead of handing it off to the running back. That figures to be incorporated into whatever package of plays he brings into a game, though it's mostly new to the Mountaineers.

"We're learning, but we have an offensive line coach who's pretty familiar with it," Dawson said, referring to Ron Crook, who was the line coach at Harvard and its quarterback run-based offense. "It's not extremely complicated, so it's more just how to rep things and what to tell the quarterback. We don't have a background in it, but it's not like it's rocket science."

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WVU'S OFFENSE HAS been inside the opponent's 6-yard line eight times in two games - twice against Alabama and six times against Towson - and has four touchdowns, three field goals and a turnover on downs.

Running backs have carried 10 times in 17 snaps inside the 6 for 10 yards and two touchdowns. The Mountaineers ran twice inside the 6 against Alabama and settled for two field goals and then ran eight times in six possessions inside the 6 against Towson. The backs scored twice and quarterback Clint Trickett threw one touchdown pass and ran for another.

The Mountaineers are still figuring out whether to give the ball to Wendell Smallwood or Rushel Shell near the goal line. Both had short touchdown runs and both came up short against the Tigers.

"If you had a preference, you'd like it to be Rushel," running backs coach JaJuan Seider said of Shell, who at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds is an inch taller and 15 pounds heavier than Smallwood.

"The thing about Wendell nobody gives him credit for is how hard he runs. He sticks his foot in the ground and he goes forward. Some of the biggest runs he had against Alabama, he didn't have a lot of yards, but when it was third-and-short, he ran and stuck it up in there and moved the pile two or three yards."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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Mike Casazza: WVU defense draws favorable comparison to 2005 unit http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140910/DM03/140919924 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140910/DM03/140919924 Wed, 10 Sep 2014 17:50:55 -0400 MORGANTOWN - Though it served as a punch line and a punching bag the previous two seasons, the truth about defense at West Virginia is that it wasn't too long ago the Mountaineers were among the very best at that part of the game.

It was 2011, to be precise, and Jeff Casteel's final number finished No. 33 in total defense and sent him out with a swarming demolition of what was a loaded Clemson offense with seven players now in the NFL. And though it's hard to forget the many bad times from 2012 and 2013, it's easier and it's more rewarding to remember the many achievements before that.

That's one reason Tony Gibson returned to WVU and was then promoted and one reason the first Division I defense he's ever coordinated is off to one of the best starts of the past decade. Saturday's shutout against Towson was the first since 2010 and only the second since the start of the 2005 season. In the same time, only the 2005, 2006 and 2010 defenses allowed fewer than the 33 points this team has allowed in the first two games - and none of those three played a ranked team at the start, let alone the No. 2 team in the country.

This defense allowed 122 yards of offense Saturday. Review this season's games and the 116 from the nine seasons before it and you'll only find one game with fewer yards allowed: Sept. 4, 2005, WVU 15, Syracuse 7. The Orange had 103 yards on 57 snaps, and not to say that was this, but this looks familiar to Gibson, who was that team's defensive backs coach.

"It's very similar to what we've got here now," Gibson said. "We were probably better in some spots then and we're probably better in some spots now, but if you go down the line, I think it's a pretty good comparison. But I don't know if we were ever as deep as these guys might be."

This team is 1-1 and preparing for Saturday's game against Maryland (2-0) at Byrd Stadium (Big Ten Network). That team was 2-0 when it went to College Park, Maryland, and won 31-19, thanks to what would become a signature defensive performance.

WVU allowed 38 yards rushing and only let Maryland get touchdowns when tight end Vernon Davis turned a short pass into a 72-yard touchdown and then WVU fumbled the ensuing kickoff to set up a short field for the Terrapins.

For some time after that, Gibson would turn on that tape when he was teaching his defensive backs about how to play and how to make opponents pay in particular coverages.

What happens this time around is yet unwritten, but that the comparisons exist should still matter this early in what's still a lengthy, though promising, project of turning around the defenses.

The 2005 team lost Pacman Jones to the draft after his junior season and linebackers Adam Lehnortt and Scott Gyorko, nose guard Ben Lynch and safety Laurence Audena to graduation.

Replacing Jones wasn't easy, but WVU had replacement parts built in there with Dee McCann, Anthony Mims and Antonio Lewis. The same was true at other positions. Boo McLee, Jay Henry and Jeff Noechel took on starting roles as linebackers. Craig Wilson and Keilein Dykes emerged as defensive ends and Ernest Hunter as the nose guard. Audena's exit got Erick Wicks on the field more.

Wicks, Mike Lorello and Jahmile Addae were better than, but still like the group of safeties WVU has now in K.J. Dillon, Dravon Henry and Karl Joseph, who Gibson sometimes compares to Addae. Gibson even thinks Joseph's backup, Jarrod Harper, would start on most of his other teams.

Cornerbacks Daryl Worley, Terrell Chestnut and Travis Bell are similar to the collection of 2005 players. Outside linebackers Brandon Golson and Wes Tonkery and inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski hadn't really played together before, but create a more agile collection of linebackers. The list of their backups, like Isaiah Bruce, Al-Rasheed Benton, Edward Muldrow and Shaq Petteway, is better.

The defensive line is the unknown, but what Dontrill Hyman, Noble Nwachukwu, Kyle Rose, Christian Brown and Shaquille Riddick have in their favor is their best football figures to be ahead of them, much as it was for the 2005 linemen.

Before the season started, that team was said to be good enough to be good, but those players had to prove it, which they did, all the way through an 11-1 record and a Sugar Bowl win. Before this season started, hopes were similarly high for players who had played before and knew how to handle themselves, but were going to have to do it more and do it better than before - and for yet another new defensive coordinator.

They've shown Gibson plenty so far, but how they handle Maryland may mean the most.

"We hung in there with Alabama, but did we dominate? No," Gibson said. "What we did was we fought hard and flew around and played with great effort and I was happy with that part of it. The thing I was not happy about was the mistakes we made, which are expected in the first game, and I thought we cleaned up a lot of stuff and we were executing in (the Towson) game.

"Was it playing a lesser opponent than Alabama? Was it that we were better? Was it a mix of a little bit of everything? We're going to get tested this week and we'll know exactly where we're at at about 4 p.m. Saturday."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers seek big plays vs. Terrapins http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909193 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909193 Tue, 9 Sep 2014 20:58:54 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - When West Virginia beat Maryland in 2012, Baltimore native Tavon Austin had a lot to do with it. He caught touchdown passes covering 44, 34 and 24 yards.

Those were three of the four pass plays covering 20 or more yards for the Mountaineers that day. The longest run was 8 yards.

WVU was shut out by the Terrapins last season, the first time the team had been blanked in 155 games. The longest pass play was 12 yards, and 30- and 51-yard runs came on the final two drives of the 37-0 loss to account for most of the 113 yards rushing.

"Do we know in the back of our minds we got our (posterior) beat last year?" offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Shannon Dawson said. "Yes, we do."

The Mountaineers (1-1) also know they were effective and efficient on offense last week, gaining 606 yards and converting 12 of 17 third downs in a 54-0 win against Towson. The longest of the 96 plays covered 26 yards. That run by Andrew Buie and three pass plays were the only 20-yard plays against an overmatched Tigers defense, and that's a concern entering Saturday's noon game against Maryland (2-0) at Byrd Stadium. It will be televised by the Big Ten Network.

"We had a little talk offensively about that," coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We've had 14, 15 explosive plays per game, but we haven't had explosive plays to the point where we've scored. An explosive play in our offense is 12 yards on a run, 14 yards on a screen, 16 yards on a pass play. That's an explosive play and we keep track of that. What we would like is for some of those explosive plays to turn into touchdowns. Right now, they're not."

Towson had a lot to do with that, though. The Tigers allowed five 20-yard pass plays and saw on film how WVU receivers Kevin White, Jordan Thompson and Wendell Smallwood combined for five of their own against Alabama.

Towson played off White and fellow wide receiver Mario Alford and WVU was made to live with it.

"It was kind of an umbrella coverage," quarterback Clint Trickett said. "They were going to keep everything underneath them and not let anything behind them. Maryland does similar things. They make people earn things."

The Mountaineers took advantage of Towson's defense with passes to running backs in the flats, quick screens to the wide receivers and throws into the space in the middle that was open because the safeties and the corners were backing up to protect against big plays.

The idea was to put the ball in play and let the receiver and his blocking teammates turn a short throw into a big gain. Throwing and catching weren't problems for the Mountaineers, who had only one dropped pass after dropping six against Alabama. It was the action after the reception that left them wanting more.

"We got arm-tackled a little bit too much," receivers coach Lonnie Galloway said. "We've got to be able to run through stuff, and we'll get better at it."

WVU did run the ball with good results, turning 52 carries into 251 yards. The nature of the game and how it got out of hand contributed to both numbers, but the Mountaineers ran the ball because the Tigers allowed it. They were focused on defending the pass, which left the area around the line of scrimmage open.

It was the other way around a week earlier, when Alabama played to stop the run and WVU accepted that, throwing 44 passes and running the ball just 24 times.

The Mountaineers averaged 4.8 yards per carry against Towson, and that was bumped up by Buie's 70 yards on nine carries.

"We do a real good job blocking on the perimeter, but we've got to do a better job of once we make the perimeter block working up to the safeties," running backs coach JaJuan Seider said. "That's where you can make a difference. That alone is going to help us make the big plays."

WVU's first-team offense has 11 scoring drives this season and they've lasted an average of 9.3 plays. The shortest was six plays. The three scoring drives Maryland's defense has allowed this season lasted 13, 11 and seven plays - the last one coming with reserves on the field at the end of the 52-7 win against James Madison in the opener.

The Terrapins, who have succeeded against WVU the past two years by pressuring with blitzes and the defensive line and by changing the looks up front, have forced 10 three-and-outs this season. They've allowed three 20-yard pass plays and one 20-yard rush.

"We're going to have to catch things underneath and get past the next level of the defense," Dawson said. "It was frustrating last week ... getting tackled by our feet a lot. You've got to pick up your feet and run through tackles to make big plays.

"It's not like we're sitting here making it a huge emphasis, but there are certain times in a game when we feel like we can do better when it comes to blocking downfield and getting out of arm tackles so we can break through and get to the back level of the defense."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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Chuck McGill: WVU can avenge losses in next five games http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909195 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909195 Tue, 9 Sep 2014 20:56:33 -0400 By Chuck McGill CHARLESTON, W.Va. - In the wake of West Virginia's 54-0 trouncing of Towson last Saturday, junior tight end Cody Clay couldn't help but get fired up about another shutout: Maryland's 37-0 win over the Mountaineers this time last season.

"I've got some built-up anxiety right now," Clay said Saturday after WVU's home opener.

What the former George Washington High School star recognizes is this: Saturday's game at Maryland (noon, Big Ten Network) is not only a revenge game for the Mountaineers, but it's the start of an avenge tour of sorts.

The next five WVU opponents - Maryland, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas Tech and Baylor - defeated the Mountaineers last season. This is the beginning of a stretch that should confirm this year's West Virginia team has made significant strides, or it might be a worrisome harbinger for the nine-game Big 12 schedule that begins Sept. 20 when Oklahoma visits Morgantown.

Last season's 37-point shellacking at the hands of the Terrapins wasn't WVU's first loss of the season, but it was the first loss that portended the 4-8 season that'd come.

"Last year Maryland was kind of the start," Clay said. "We've got to play good this week. We got blown out, shut out, so we've got a lot to prove."

"Definitely some revenge," added Clay's teammate, senior receiver Kevin White.

Fourth-year West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen isn't using last season's lopsided result as a motivating tactic, but it has been discussed.

"We'll talk about it briefly. We talked about it briefly on Sunday," he said Tuesday during his weekly session with the media. "I don't need them to change anything. What really got us beat last year was the mentality, the effort, the excitement level that we didn't play with, the excitement level they played with."

The last time WVU played five consecutive opponents in which it lost to the previous season was 2002, when the Mountaineers closed with six games in a row against such opponents. That was after the 3-8 season of 2001, so the chances were fairly good West Virginia would run into an opponent it lost to the previous season.

The Mountaineers responded by winning five of those six games. They beat Syracuse, lost to Miami and then defeated Temple, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Pitt to punch a ticket to the Continental Tire Bowl against Virginia.

After an eight-loss season, that stretch proved the program had turned a corner. This season's five-game stretch provides a similar opportunity, although another grueling five-game stretch awaits after WVU finishes its avenge tour.

How the Mountaineers fare Saturday should go a long way in determining how they'll fare in October and November.

"Now we're playing an opponent we should beat and we have to prove we can do that," Clay said. "This is when we've got to step up, this is when we've got to show everybody we're here for real."

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A FAMILIAR NAME in the West Virginia-Maryland football series will be the analyst for the Big Ten Network this Saturday.

Former WVU and Maryland quarterback Scott McBrien is in his first season in the television booth. The Terrapins are in their first season in the Big Ten, so the network needed an infusion of Maryland expertise.

McBrien has seen both sides of the border rivalry. He redshirted at WVU in 1999 and played sparingly in 2000, Don Nehlen's final season. After the hiring of Rich Rodriguez, McBrien transferred to his home state school and sat out the 2001 season.

In 2002 and '03, McBrien went 3-0 against the Mountaineers. Maryland beat WVU 48-17, 34-7 and 41-7, the last of which was in the Gator Bowl. McBrien was named the game's MVP in his final college appearance.

Overall, McBrien finished 43-for-76 passing with 763 yards, five touchdowns and one interception against West Virginia. After his graduation, the Terrapins lost seven consecutive games to the Mountaineers until last season's shutout in Baltimore.

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COULD DANA HOLGORSEN'S coaching tree soon include a head coach at major FBS program?

June Jones resigned as Southern Methodist's head coach Monday, which spurred national pundits to publish a list of possible candidates for the Dallas-based school.

One name that appeared on the list of college football columnist Bruce Feldman: Texas A&M offensive coordinator-quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital.

The 29-year-old Spavital is in his second season as an Aggies assistant. He mentored Johnny Manziel last season and has Kenny Hill's name in Heisman discussions through two weeks of the regular season. He spent two seasons on Holgorsen's staff at WVU, where he coached Geno Smith during Smith's final two collegiate seasons.

WVU was Spavital's first official college job. He'd been a quality control coach at Tulsa and a graduate assistant at Houston (2009) and Oklahoma State (2010). Like Holgorsen, Spavital has worked with A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy.

But Holgorsen was the first to hand Spavital a big-time gig, and the buzz around Spavital could have him leading a major college program just a few years after he surfaced in Morgantown.

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WVU FOOTBALL: Tonkery injury might not hurt Mountaineers http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909196 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909196 Tue, 9 Sep 2014 20:50:38 -0400 By Mike Casazza MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia's only injury scare so far this season doesn't seem so scary.

Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said at his weekly press conference Tuesday that fifth-year senior linebacker Wes Tonkery is day-to-day with an undisclosed leg injury and could play Saturday against Maryland.

Tonkery, a starter who took over the Sam position in preseason practice, was injured in the first quarter of Saturday's game against Towson and did not return, but actually led the team in tackles.

"He played nine snaps and had five tackles, (half) a sack and (11/2 tackles) for a loss," defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Tony Gibson said. "That's a pretty productive nine snaps."

If Tonkery can't start or doesn't play, he'll be replaced by juniors Isaiah Bruce, who led the team in tackles in 2012, and Shaq Petteway.

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MARYLAND WILL wear a "historically inspired" Under Armour uniform against WVU that "pays homage to the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry and the Star Spangled Banner."

The cleats, helmet and shoulders of the jerseys have parts of the text to Francis Scott Key's poem, "The Defence of Fort McHenry," which was inspired by the Battle of Baltimore and eventually became the national anthem.

The jerseys, though, are white, which is usually designated for a road team.

"Maryland put in a petition to be able to wear white because they're unveiling new, fancy uniforms, and we said, 'Fine, we don't care. Good for you,'" Holgorsen said. "We're going to wear some combination of blue and gold because we have to."

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RUNNING BACK Andrew Buie, who led the team in rushing in 2012, but withdrew from the university last August after tumbling down the depth chart, saw his first action of the season Saturday and gained 70 yards on nine carries, scored a touchdown and more playing time.

"When you produce," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said, "you get a chance to produce some more."

Buie ended up with more carries than anyone other than Rushel Shell and was the top option as the third running back, which running backs coach JaJuan Seider said the Mountaineers are still searching for. It could be Buie.

"I told him, 'I haven't seen that out of you since I've been here. I don't care what you did with the other coaches. That doesn't matter to me. All I know is what I see in front of me,' " Seider said. "Going forward, I think he'll see more carries. He's got a little taste of it, he's got his confidence up and he can do stuff to help us like playing slot."

Buie's rise corresponds with Dreamius Smith's slide. The senior, who had a 51-yard run against Maryland last season, has 10 carries for 25 yards and one reception for four yards this season.

"Right now, I'm on him, but I've done my part. That's what camp is for," Seider said. "I'm not going to give up on the kid, but at some point you've got to look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'What am I doing wrong?' There's no reason why other guys are finishing runs. Hell, our quarterback is finishing runs and you're not?

"That's the frustrating part, so now I've got to find a way to get through to him, and he knows it. He's said it: 'Coach, keep coaching me hard. You're dead on. I've got to do a better job.' But the more I coach it, the more he gets passed up. It's like I told him, 'I can't keep doing it now and hold the other guys back.'"

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ONE OF THE many defensive players to make it into the game in the second half Saturday was cornerback Jaylon Myers, a junior college All-American last year who didn't enroll at WVU until Aug. 19. He played special teams and 10 snaps at cornerback against the Tigers.

"He's going to play a bunch for us," Gibson said.

How soon remains to be seen, but the Mountaineers are about to encounter a lot of talented receivers, beginning with Maryland's Deon Long, Stephon Diggs and Marcus Leak. WVU begins Big 12 play Sept. 20 against Oklahoma before an open week.

"We don't know when it's going to be, but he's a very talented kid we have to find a place for," cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell said. "It's just the learning curve because he missed all of the summer and the meetings and the on-the-field practices.

"He's still learning the fundamentals and technique and verbiage we use, but we've got to get him caught up and on an even level, so we'll see how much he can handle."

Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mikec@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.

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WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers get another night game, will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. vs. OU on Sept. 20 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909260 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909260 Tue, 9 Sep 2014 09:49:23 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

West Virginia's conference football opener against Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. 20, will kickoff at 7:30 p.m., it was announced Monday.

The game will be televised by Fox. It is the Mountaineers' second consecutive home night game.

WVU is off to a 1-1 start with a 33-23 loss to Alabama in the Georgia Dome, followed by last Saturday's 54-0 win over Towson in the home opener. West Virginia travels to face Maryland (2-0) this Saturday at noon (Big Ten Network). That will conclude the non-conference portion of the Mountaineers' schedule.

West Virginia begins its nine-game Big 12 schedule with the Sooners, who are ranked fourth in the Associated Press top 25 poll.

The Mountaineers are 0-2 against OU since joining the Big 12, but both losses were by single digits. WVU lost to Oklahoma, 50-49, when the Sooners visited Morgantown in 2012. Last season, West Virginia lost 16-7 at Oklahoma.

WVU's only other conference game with a start time is the Thursday, Nov. 20 home game against Kansas State, which will kickoff at 7 p.m.

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WVU soccer: WVU women's soccer team ranked 13th http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909270 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909270 Tue, 9 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MORGANTOWN - The West Virginia University women's soccer team maintains its No. 13 ranking in Monday's TopDrawerSoccer.com Division I Women's Top 25 Poll.

The Mountaineers (4-2) steady ranking comes on the heels of a 2-0 showing over the weekend at the WVU 90 Minute Classic at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

WVU is one of three Big 12 Conference schools in the rankings, with Texas Tech (5-0) sitting at No. 8 and Kansas (6-0) checking in at No. 22.

The Mountaineers continue their eight-match homestand this weekend with a pair of games. WVU faces No. 18-ranked Georgetown (3-2-1) on Friday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m., and Duquesne (1-1-2) on Sunday, Sept. 14, at 1 p.m.

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Mountaineers hold first gymnastics practice http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909273 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909273 Tue, 9 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MORGANTOWN - The West Virginia University gymnastics team will hold its first official practice of the 2015 season on Tuesday at Cary Gym.

Eleven gymnasts return for the Mountaineers this season, including seniors Beth Deal, Dayah Haley and Lia Salzano. The first official practice follows three weeks of open gym sessions for the team.

The Mountaineers finished the 2014 campaign at 6-11, including a third-place finish at the Big 12 Gymnastics Championship. Four Mountaineers qualified for the NCAA Athens Regional Championships: graduate Hope Sloanhoffer, Deal, and sophomores Nicolette Swoboda and Alexa Goldberg. Sloanhoffer finished first on the balance beam and second in the all-around, earning a spot at the 2014 NCAA National Championships.

WVU's 2015 schedule is expected to be released later this month.

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WVU rifle: Mountaineers open World Championships http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909274 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140909/DM03/140909274 Tue, 9 Sep 2014 00:01:00 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

GRANADA, Spain - Members of the West Virginia University rifle team shot in the men's 10m air rifle competition today at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship.

Senior Meelis Kiisk, shooting for his home country of Estonia, shot 619.0 (100.3, 102.9, 101.9, 103.5, 105.8, 104.6) in the men's qualifying relay, placing 64th overall.

Junior Michael Bamsey of Great Britain shot 614.1 (104.1, 102.7, 102.8, 103.7, 99.1, 101.7) in the qualifying round for 88th overall.

WVU All-American Nicco Campriani competed for Italy and placed 18th in the qualifier, shooting 624.4 (102.9, 103.3, 104.3, 105.5, 104.1, 104.3).

Competition will continue Tuesday with the women's 10m air rifle elimination rounds.

The championship, held every four years and in between Olympic games, is the first competition in which shooters have the opportunity to earn Olympic quota places, a starting position to send athletes to the next Olympics.

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