In Saturday night’s thriller at Milan Puskar Stadium, West Virginia had many chances to win two consecutive games for the first time in the 2013 season.
The one key difference in the game, however, was Texas’ ability to execute. It’s the story of the WVU season: while you could make a case for West Virginia being the better team in the game, the opposing squad was able to make more plays to win it.
As redshirt senior Darwin Cook said in postgame interviews, these types of losses have been difficult to swallow. Even when it appears West Virginia is one play away from a .500 record and one step closer to a bowl game, the opposing team converts on a key third-down or makes crucial defensive stops, as seen in Saturday’s game.
It’s simple. The better team finds a way to win no matter the scenario. That was the case Saturday night, and that’s been the case in many losses West Virginia had this season.
You can make a case the Mountaineers were the better team in the losses to Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Texas this season. You can even go as far to say WVU was a better team than Kansas State, even if it was just for a half.
I guess it’s a matter of youth and inexperience. You can make every excuse in the book. Once again, the better team finds a way to win.
“(Texas is) undefeated in the Big 12. They’re 6-0, and it would’ve been a good win for us, but we just weren’t able to make the plays when it counts, which is tough to take,” said West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen.
As you’re aware, Big 12 competition is difficult, and games could come down to one play here or one play there. You could say West Virginia was one play away from victory on 4th-and-7. Longhorns’ quarterback Case McCoy was able to make a 9-yard pass to junior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley to keep the drive alive and eventually draw the game even.
There’s no easy way to pinpoint what has transpired for West Virginia in the 2013 season. A few plays that could have gone a different way and the Mountaineers could be a 7-3 football team right now.
While West Virginia continues to solve this puzzle, it has two chances now to become bowl eligible. The Mountaineers travel to Lawrence, Kan., Saturday before taking on a 1-8 Iowa State squad at home Nov. 30.
After Saturday’s loss, I found myself thinking about how this story had already been told throughout this season. It all comes back to execution and how the better team finds a way to win. WVU hasn’t been the better team many times in 2013.
Against the TCU Horned Frogs, despite a rally led by TCU quarterback Casey Pachall, the Mountaineers found a way to get a much-needed win and leave Fort Worth, Texas, with some confidence.
A win against Texas would have certainly helped the Mountaineers find their identity this season, but viewers saw the same story told once again. And for West Virginia fans, it was a story they’d rather not hear anymore.