The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

December 1, 2012


Mountaineers look to improve bowl status against Kansas


Kansas (1-10, 0-8 Big 12) vs. West Virginia (6-5, 3-5 Big 12)


Today, 2:30 p.m.


Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium


Tickets are still available for today’s game. To order, stop by the ticket office or call 1-800-WVU-GAME.


The game will be televised by FSN and shown locally on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.


Twenty-two WVU seniors will play their last game at Mountaineer Field today and be recognized prior to kickoff. Shawne Alston, Tavon Austin, Tyler Bitancurt, Jeff Braun, Nick Cadwell, Ryan Clarke, Josh Francis, Terence Garvin, Josh Jenkins, J.B. Lageman, Cecil Level, Joe Madsen, Donovan Miles, Pat Miller, Pete Miller, Matt Moro, Ryan Nehlen, Corey Smith, Geno Smith, Lawrence Smith, J.D. Woods and Jorge Wright are the players to be honored.

There’s also the possibility that juniors will leave early and enter the NFL Draft. Stedman Bailey, WVU’s career receiving touchdown leader, could fall into that category. He hasn’t made a decision, but it’s possible this could be his final home game, as well.


Those seniors, along with head coach Dana Holgorsen, will be the only ones participating in today’s Mountaineer Mantrip, the traditional walk to the stadium, which is scheduled to begin around noon.


Kansas is obviously playing for nothing but pride, and its only conference win of the season.

WVU has a lot more on the line. The Mountaineers are playing to improve their bowl situation.

A win would likely give WVU a shot at being selected for the Holiday Bowl, played Dec. 27 in San Diego, Calif., against the No. 3 team from the Pac-12. A loss would, in all likelihood, send WVU to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl Dec. 29 in Yankee Stadium, facing off against the No. 4 selection from the Big East.



Geno Smith, QB —
The nation’s third-leading passer, averaging a little more than 29 completions per game — and throwing a league-best 37 touchdowns compared to just five interceptions on the year — is playing his final home game and will be looking to put on one last show for the Mountaineer fans, before leaving with basically every career passing record in the books.

Tavon Austin, WR — Second in the nation in all-purpose yards, averaging 233.9 yards per game, Austin will also play his final home game before exiting as the school’s all-time reception leader. He leads the league in receptions per game with 9.6, but he’s seen more time at running back lately after setting a new school record with 344 yards rushing against Oklahoma.


James Sims, RB —
After sitting out the first part of the season with a suspension, the junior has made the Jayhawk offense much more dangerous. In Big 12 games, he leads the league, averaging 123.6 rushing yards per contest.

Michael Cummings, QB — The freshman has taken over the quarterback duties late in the year. He doesn’t have the arm of senior Dayne Crist, who started the season under center, but Crist was throwing more interceptions than touchdowns, and Cummings is more of a threat to run the ball. With the freshman taking control, head coach Charlie Weis has used more of an option attack on offense.


It all comes down to rushing the football — on both sides. Kansas has the Big 12’s second-best rushing offense, averaging 216.6 yards per game on the ground, but passing has been an adventure, to say the least. The Jayhawks are last in the league in that category, averaging only a little over 150 yards per game through the air.

That could change against a WVU defense that’s last in all of the Football Bowl Subdivision in pass defense, but the Mountaineer coaches seem confident that WVU can stop Kansas if it can slow down the run game.

Rushing the ball will also be critically important to Holgorsen’s Mountaineer offense. When the team struggled to put up points during a five-game losing streak, it also struggled to run the ball. When Austin took over at tailback and then Alston returned from injury, WVU was finally able to run it again, and the offense returned to its explosive nature.

If WVU can establish the run, it will be hard to stop. It has won every game under Holgorsen when rushing for 150 or more yards in a game, except one. The exception was the 50-49 loss to Oklahoma the last time the Mountaineers played at home.

— E-mail: and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814 Sisler Diamond Classic continues today

    Fayetteville pitcher Kaitlyn Sisler pitched five innings of shutout softball as the Pirates beat Oak Hill 10-0 Wednesday in the Diamond Classic in Fayetteville.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014

  • Turnbull’s tenure dominates WVU wrestling history

    Did Oliver Luck really do a thorough job in deeply evaluating Craig Turnbull’s 36-year career as wrestling coach before firing him?

    April 17, 2014

  • WVU’s top football prospects working out for NFL teams

    As we draw ever closer to the NFL Draft, the prospect workouts for teams are picking up steam for former Mountaineers. Both running back Charles Sims and defensive end Will Clarke have a busy road ahead.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041814 james monroe Crusaders make history in loss to James Monroe

    The first season for Greater Beckley Christian’s baseball team has been met with growing pains — to say the least.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041714 millard Kickoff time set for WVU-Alabama

    West Virginia football fans can now start counting down to the exact minute, instead of just the day.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo