The play of WVU quarterback Jarret Doege has been one of the most divisive aspects of the 2021 football season for the Mountaineers, and there has been a very vocal part of the fan base that has wanted a change at the position since the season opener at Maryland.
Chants for Doege to be benched in favor of backup Garrett Greene have filled Milan Puskar Stadium, as well as a bulk of social media, since September.
In a few instances, Doege has been called inappropriate names, simply because what many deemed were poor performances through the first half of the season that had WVU sitting at 2-4. Whether the criticism was warranted or not, what Doege faced through the first six games should not happen to a scholarship athlete who chose to play for your favorite university and football team.
Doege has said fans are allowed to have their own opinions, but he tries his best to tune out the noise the best he can. But with an active social media, some of it seeps through.
Over the last two games, though, including Saturday’s 38-31 win over No. 22 Iowa State in Morgantown, Doege is playing his best since he became the starter for the Mountaineers in November 2019.
His 370 yards passing were the most he’s had in a WVU uniform, and he was efficient on 3rd down, extending drives over and over again. Doege led touchdown drives all four times the Mountaineers got the ball back after a Cylcones’ touchdown.
Admittedly, he made a poor decision on a pick-6, something head coach Neal Brown said was Doege’s only bad play.
This was his best game, but Doege remained humble after the win.
“I’m in a great state of mind, I’m really confident right now in what I’m doing,” he said. “I know my teammates believe in me, I believe in them, my coaches believe in me and that’s really all I can ask for. It doesn’t really matter what happens outside this building — as long as these guys believe in me, I’ll continue to prepare and work hard.”
Since Doege continues to take the high road, I’ll take the low one for him.
My former colleague Todd Murray wrote in December 2016 that then-QB Skyler Howard didn’t deserve the boos he received on his own Senior Night.
Doege is following a similar path. WVU has had some great quarterbacks over the last 30 years, which to a point, spoiled the fanbase into believing anything short of excellence warrants a benching and a move to the next man up.
Doege has been far from perfect and has made his fair share of mistakes over the last two years, but to boo a player and attack him on social media is a step too far.
He leads the Big 12 in passing with 2,071 yards, he’s competing 67% of his passes and has given WVU a chance to win in seven of its eight games this season.
To play his best game as a Mountaineer at home against a ranked team is a moment Doege should relish, and for at least one week, he shut up the doubters.