The West Virginia Moutaineers are off their first rough year in a long time, as they went just 4-8 last year overall and 2-7 in the Big 12. This year they lose just 13 lettermen and have back 13 starters, but will it be enough to get them back to a bowl game? Preview & schedule are below.
Clint Trickett looks like he will start out as the QB this year, after splitting time with Paul Millard last year. Both QB’s were rather average last year, but it looks as if Trickett gives them their best shot to win now. Clint will have the top 3 WR’s back from last year, including big play threat Mario Alford, who averages 20.4 yards per catch on 27 receptions last year. Alford also had 47 yards rushing on 5 carries (9.4 ypc). This year they lose 1000 yard back Charles sims form the running game, but in will step Pitt Transfer Rushel Shell, who is a sophomore and was rated #3 RB when he came out of HS. The Mountaineer also have Demarius smith back, who ran for 494 yards and 5 TDs last year, plus they signed a top 32 RB out of HS in DonteThomas-Williams. The running game should be solid, but the OL is slightly below average, with just 2 starters back. Defense used to be a staple of this team, but they have now allowed 38.1 ppg and 33.3 ppg in their first two years in the Big 12. This year they have 23 lettermen, including 7 starters back on this side of the ball, so I do expect improved play from them this year. The LB corps has all 4 starters back and will be the strength of this defense. It will be led by last year’s leading tackler Nick Kwiatoski, who had 6 TFL last year. Kyle Rose had 8.5 TFL last year and anchors a solid DL, while the secondary will be better with 2 starters and solid playmakers all over it.
Dana Holgorson is on a very hot seat right now. The offense has plenty of skill players and if the OL holds up and the QB spot is stabilized then they will easily top the 26.3 ppg they put up last year. The defense has been shredded the last two year, but they had some solid defensive signees, to go along with 23 lettermen back and one of the better LB Corps in the league, so they will improve on that side of the ball. WVA starts the year off vs Alabama and then a few weeks later they travel to Maryland, before their rough big 12 slate. The Moutaineers will probably miss bowl season again, despite the fact that they are better on both sides of the ball. KEY TREND: 11-0 ATS vs an opponent off a SU loss as a favorite.
2014 West Virginia Football Schedule
Sat, Aug 30th, 2014 at Alabama
Sat, Sep 6th, 2014 Towson
Sat, Sep 13th, 2014 at Maryland
Sat, Sep 20th, 2014 Oklahoma
Sat, Oct 4th, 2014 Kansas
Sat, Oct 11th, 2014 at Texas Tech
Sat, Oct 18th, 2014 Baylor
Sat, Oct 25th, 2014 at Oklahoma State
Sat, Nov 1st, 2014 TCU
Sat, Nov 8th, 2014 at Texas
Thu, Nov 20th, 2014 Kansas State
Sat, Nov 29th, 2014 at Iowa State
Info gathered From Phil Steele's CFB Preview and Athlon Sports
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