The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

November 9, 2012

Special teams have been highlight to WVU’s offense

West Virginia’s best offense the last two games may have been its special teams, and the game’s often-overlooked third phase could be critical Saturday when the Mountaineers (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) hit the road to face Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.

Of the 45 points WVU scored in its last eight regulation quarters — home losses to Kansas State and TCU — 14 have come directly from the return game. Tavon Austin returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score against the Wildcats, one of the only highlights in a 55-14 loss, and he put the Mountaineers ahead with less than two minutes on the clock against TCU with an electrifying 76-yard punt return.

Watching that tape had to be especially scary for an Oklahoma State team that gave up a 100-yard kickoff return to Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett in a 44-30 loss last week. The Cowboys rank ninth out of 10 Big 12 teams in kickoff coverage.

“They’re just as dangerous as Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson,” said OSU’s Quinn Sharp, who handles both the punting and kicking duties. “They have Tavon Austin back there, and he’s just as fast as those guys. So we have to come prepared and take care of business.”

Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy isn’t willing to wait much longer to see that from his team.

“What we have to do is prepare, practice it, make sure the players understand it and play with great effort,” he explained. “The guy we played last week (Lockett) is really good. This guy (Austin) is a different really good. There’s times he gets big returns, and he doesn’t even go where they blocked it. He’s special. He reminds me of Perrish Cox (a former Oklahoma State star who is now playing for the San Francisco 49ers).”

———

WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen announced Thursday that freshman wide receiver Tavares Copeland has left the team for “personal reasons.” The coach would not elaborate on the decision.

Copeland had 10 catches for 55 yards in three games and even started a game after his redshirt was pulled earlier this season.

———

WVU’s women’s basketball team will open the 2012-13 campaign tonight when it hosts UNC Wilmington at the WVU Coliseum at 7 p.m.

“I’m always excited for the season to start,” said WVU head coach Mike Carey. “It’s hard to believe the season is here already, but it is.”

The Mountaineers return 80 percent of their scoring from last season and welcome in five new players from a nationally-ranked recruiting class. Junior Christal Caldwell averaged 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last season.

WVU finished 24-10 a year ago and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers were picked to finish second in their first season in the Big 12.

This will be the first all-time meeting between WVU and UNCW, which finished 20-3 last season and advanced to the WNIT.

———

Mini-packages for the 2012-13 WVU men’s basketball season will go on sale Monday at 9 a.m.

The Gold package will include the TCU, Texas, Oklahoma State and Iowa State games for $118. The Blue package will be made up of Kansas State, Kansas, Texas Tech and Baylor tickets and sell for $123.

Also going on sale Monday will be a Family Day package for the Oklahoma game. Four tickets, four drinks, four hot dogs and one bucket of popcorn will be included in the package for $60.

Family Day packages are on sale now for the Virginia Tech and Eastern Kentucky games. Those packages must be ordered in advance and cannot be purchased on the day of the game.

To order tickets, visit www.wvugame.com or call 1-800-WVU-GAME.

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter  @CamHuffmanRH.

1
Text Only
College Sports
  • Miners stop Lorain County 5-1

    The West Virginia Miners received a strong outing from starting pitcher Patrick LaGanke, and scored one run in each of the final five innings to defeat the Lorain County Ironmen 5-1 Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Some topics of interest to area fans

    Tom Hart, a widely known retired Morgantown High School administrator and coach, continues to excel as one of the nation’s top bowlers

    July 25, 2014

  • 072514 WVU Replacing Sims a challenge for WVU

    Every year, almost every college football preview publication available lists one key statistic that most use to evaluate the prospects for any given football team — returning starters.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU’s Worley clear starter at cornerback

    There were few bright spots in West Virginia University’s 4-8 football campaign last year, and even fewer on the defensive side of the football, where the Mountaineers gave up more than 455 yards and 33 points per game.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen to appear on ESPN special

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen will appear Wednesday on ESPN’s annual mid-summer college football coaches’ “car wash” — in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league

    Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 miners Miners take series with Paints

    The way the West Virginia Miners see it, they don’t have the luxury of planning for tomorrow.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU's Fleming signs with Yankees

    Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.

    July 22, 2014

  • WVU to kickoff 2018 season against Tennessee in Charlotte

    The Charlotte Sports Foundation (CSF) announced Tuesday morning that it has secured a regular season college football game for the city of Charlotte pitting the University of Tennessee against West Virginia University.

    July 22, 2014

  • Can summit of bigwigs really solve college athletics issues?

    I see where the Big 12 Conference is going to host in New York City what will be titled “A State of College Athletics Forum.”

    July 22, 2014

Saints Training Camp