Football, Sports, WVU Sports

WVU FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Quarterback Jarret Doege gives mixed messages about 2022 future

MORGANTOWN — Although WVU head coach Neal Brown said not to put much credence into who walks and who doesn’t during Saturday’s Senior Day ceremony before the game against Texas, one senior was notably absent.

Quarterback Jarret Doege, who can return in 2022 with his extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19-plagued 2020, did not participate.

During the ESPN2 broadcast, sideline reporter Taylor McGregor said Doege told her he didn’t walk because he plans on returning next season.

After the game, Doege’s response was a bit different on whether or not he will be back with the Mountaineers next season.

“My focus has really been on Texas this week and Kansas next week,” he said. “I’ll sit down and talk with coach Brown after this season and see what happens.”

Doege made his 24th straight start for WVU (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) against the Longhorns, finishing with an impressive 27 of 43 for 290 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Of the 13 seniors on the team, Doege, linebacker VanDarius Cowan, wide receiver Isaiah Esdale, safety Quamaezius Mosby and linebacker Deshawn Stevens did not walk.

There were several surprises who did, however, including four juniors — wide receiver Sean Ryan, defensive back Jackie Matthews, offensive lineman Noah Drummond and offensive lineman John Hughes.

“If they wanted to walk, they walked,” Brown said. “I would say that some of the guys that walked will come back. Some of the guys that didn’t walk, I don’t know, they may not come back. Guys haven’t made their decision and it wasn’t worth pushing. We’re going to finish the regular season and hopefully a bowl game, then make some decisions after that.”

Brown explains 4th-down call

Up by eight points with 43 seconds left at the Texas 36-yard line, Brown elected to go for it, resulting in an incomplete pass in the end zone from Doege to Esdale.

The reasoning is playing the percentages.

“With a field goal, you bring a block into the equation,” Brown said. “Our protection had had some issues during the deal. You run the ball, it really doesn’t help you time-wise. With a punt … we had the punt blocked (last week at Kansas State) and they had blocked four punts already this year. We thought they would play the run, so what we did was run a play that was either going to be a touchdown or incompletion. It w

as close, but we knew, with 35 seconds left, they were going to have a long way to go for a touchdown.”

Ford-Wheaton goes down

Following a screen catch and run in the second quarter, wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton went down with an apparent foot injury. He went to the locker room and later returned in street clothes wearing a walking boot.

However, Ford-Wheaton tweeted after the game that it doesn’t seem serious.

“I’m all good! Thank y’all for the support,” the tweet read.

Ford-Wheaton finished with three catches for 58 yards before he went down.

Orange Bowl team honored

The 2012 Orange Bowl champions, which finished 10-3 and is most known for scoring 70 points — tied for the most all-time in a bowl game — against Clemson, was honored after the first quarter.

Several members of the team, including Stedman Bailey, Terence Garvin, Julian Miller, Doug Rigg, Najee Goode, Mike Molinari, Wes Tonkery, Pat Eger, Darwin Cook and Will Clarke, stood around the Orange Bowl trophy.

WVU also paid tribute to the late Sam Huff, who died Nov. 13 at age 87. The former All-American linebacker with the Mountaineers went on to have a Hall-of-Fame career in the NFL and has his No. 75 retired.

Brown credits fans

Though it was only 48,755 fans at Milan Puskar Stadium, Brown credited them for bringing a strong atmosphere, but also may have helped with the future of the program.

“I think it gets overlooked that we don’t have any school next week,” he said. “No school, I think the dorms are closed. For our students to show up and participate, I really thank them. The fans were a factor in the game and it matters — I can’t emphasize that enough. We had had a ton of recruits here. We had some official visitors and we probably had 20-plus recruits who have offers that were here.

“The atmosphere matters, and I think that’s something that I want our fans to understand because they are a factor. When they show up, they’re loud and they’re into the game, it is a factor.”

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