With two words, senior defensive lineman Shaq Rowell managed to sum up the thoughts of West Virginia players, coaches, and fans following the team’s 37-0 drubbing at the hands of Maryland on Saturday. It is difficult to overstate how thoroughly the Mountaineers were dominated in their first shutout loss since the 2001 season. The offense tallied a mere 175 yards of total offense, special teams turned the ball over on a punt return for the third time this season, and the defense gave up 30 of the game’s points on their own.
Rowell and other players have taken the defeat personally.
“It’s a disgrace to West Virginia and its 1.8 million people. That will never happen again as long as I’m here,” Rowell said. “We’re going to get better. I guarantee that. Being a senior and a leader on this team it’s just my word to you all.”
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For his part, head coach Dana Holgorsen is taking all blame for the team’s performance. “They whipped us on all three sides of the ball,” Holgorsen said. “It’s 100 percent on me… I told the guys in [the locker room] that you need to look in the mirror, and that’s what I’m going to do. Obviously what I’m doing offensively is not working.”
Determining a solution for the team’s problems, however, won’t be an easy task. Difficult problems rarely have simple solutions. Offensively, play by the line has been more, the wide receivers have yet to produce (catching only one ball against Maryland), and quarterback Ford Childress showed freshman nerves when the going got tough against the Terrapins. Regardless, Holgorsen remains resolute in his mission to get the team back on track.
“Whether it’s scheming, whether it’s coaching technique, whether it’s practice looks, whatever it is, we’re going to figure it out.”
There is no rest for the weary, however, as the Mountaineers face Big 12 favorites Oklahoma State this Saturday at noon. The Cowboys enter the game with a 3-0 record following a bye week, and they are ranked #11 in the Associated Press poll. Their most impressive win came during the opening week of the season, a 21-3 victory over Mississippi State. Some tickets still remain for Saturday’s game. It will be televised nationally on ESPN.