Football, Sports, WVU Sports

Frustration mounts for WVU with two games left to become bowl eligible

MORGANTOWN — The pieces appeared to be falling into place when WVU upset Iowa State on Oct. 30. The Mountaineers were back at .500 with back-to-back wins vs. TCU and the Cyclones, and the offense especially was playing its best in nearly three years.

But the fortunes ran dry, beginning with a 24-3 loss at home to Oklahoma State, followed by another ugly road loss at Kansas State last Saturday.

Sitting at 4-6 (2-5 Big 12) with two games left, needing to win both to become bowl-eligible, frustration is rising within the program, admitted by several players after the loss to the Wildcats.

“We have to focus on what’s ahead of us,” senior safety Alonzo Addae said. “Obviously, it is frustrating what happened (against K-State). I’m not frustrated with the guys because we’re bonded together. We’ll figure out what we have to do better. We have to figure out what we have to do to get a different outcome on Saturdays.”

Each of the last two losses were tough in their own way. Against OSU, the Cowboys dominated defensively with WVU having its lowest offensive output in 27 years.

At K-State, mistakes and self-inflected wounds on offense, defense and special teams doomed the Mountaineers from the start.

“Our frustrations are pretty high right now,” wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton said. “We have certain non-negotiables in our program and for us to shoot ourselves in our foot hurts. That should have been a different game than that with a different outcome, but we shot ourselves in our foot and couldn’t really recover.”

On the second play of the game, the ball bounced off Winston Wright’s hands and was intercepted, leading to a K-State touchdown. Two more turnovers — a Leddie Brown fumble and Jarret Doege interception — in the 4th quarter spoiled a comeback attempt.

Defensively, VanDarius Cowan’s obvious targeting foul wiped out an interception in the 1st quarter. On special teams, K-State blocked a punt for a touchdown and the Mountaineers allowed several breakouts on kick returns.

In Year 3 under head coach Neal Brown, many expected better results this season, including the players. Battling for bowl eligibility in late November is not what the team wanted.

“There is definitely frustration. I feel it’s time for us to turn around the program,” Ford-Wheaton said. “I just want to make sure we’re on the right track. We’re not trying to lose, clearly. I feel like everyone is trying their best. We just have to dial in and find the little things going wrong and lock in and improve.”

Kansas kickoff time, network announced

The Big 12 announced WVU’s Nov. 27 game vs. Kansas at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan., will be televised on FS1 at 7 p.m.  It is the regular-season finale for the Mountaineers.

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