Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers draw Texas A&M in Liberty Bowl

The 56th AutoZone Liberty Bowl will feature West Virginia versus Texas A&M, the Big 12 against the Southeastern Conference and Dana Holgorsen matched up against his former boss.

The Mountaineers (7-5, 5-4) will face the Aggies (7-5, 3-5) in Memphis, Tenn., on Dec. 29. ESPN will televise the game, which kicks off at 2 p.m.

WVU and Texas A&M have never played.

“We faced a very challenging schedule this season with five Top 12 teams and playing a tough opponent like Texas A&M in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl will be yet another challenge this year,” said Holgorsen, WVU’s fourth-year coach. “We had a good season and getting to play in a bowl game is a great way to reward our players, especially our seniors. We will prepare hard for this bowl game and try to finish this season on a strong note.”

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers draw Texas A&M in Liberty Bowl.

The Charleston Gazette | WVU will face Texas A&M, Spavital in Liberty Bowl

The Liberty Bowl was openly rooting for another SEC team to fill its matchup. Bowl officials lobbied for Tennessee to give the game more of a local flavor.

It didn’t happen, though, because the decision was essentially out of the Liberty Bowl’s hands. The SEC pools six of its mid-level bowl teams and then assigns them to six contracted bowls based on a variety of factors, including the teams’ desire to play there and the bowls’ desire to have them.

But the Liberty Bowl already got one of its wishes, which was West Virginia. WVU played in the Liberty Bowl in 1964 when the game was played indoors in Atlantic City. This will be the 50th anniversary of that game.

In Texas A&M, West Virginia (7-5) will face a team that had a roller coaster of a season. The Aggies, in their first game since losing Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, routed South Carolina in the season opener, winning 52-28 on the road. They went on to start the season 5-0.

But a 48-31 loss at Mississippi State began a three-game slide that included a 59-0 thrashing at Alabama. A&M then split its final four games, ending with home losses to Missouri and LSU.

West Virginia was one of seven Big 12 teams that accepted bowl bids Sunday.

via The Charleston Gazette | WVU will face Texas A&M, Spavital in Liberty Bowl.

The Charleston Gazette | WVU uses big second half to rout NKU, 67-42

In some ways, the mismatch that was West Virginia’s game with Northern Kentucky Sunday night became obvious right from that start.

And yes, that means in an ugly, torturous, nearly unwatchable first half.

“We played the worst half we could play,’’ said sophomore center Devin Williams, who was doing it in front of family and friends from his hometown of Cincinnati, just across the Ohio River from here. “It was our worst half and we were still up by four or three or whatever it was.’’

For the record it was just three. And it wasn’t even a pretty three. It was 20-17 and not only was it the product of an epically bad offensive performance, it came after allowing NKU to score the final five points of the half.

In the end, of course, none of it mattered because the No. 16 Mountaineers righted the ship. They dominated the second half of a 67-42 victory, bouncing back from last Thursday’s loss to LSU and improving to 8-1.

via The Charleston Gazette | WVU uses big second half to rout NKU, 67-42.

WV MetroNews – Defense delivers when shots don’t fall at Northern Kentucky

West Virginia sophomore Devin Williams hugged hometown friends by the hundreds, and standing courtside, his coach entertained a receiving line of his own. Not far away, Jonathan Holton stopped an interviewer cold to chase down Hall-of-Famer Oscar Robertson for a picture.

It all made for a cozy ending to a Cincinnati trip that featured the ugliest of starts.

Tied 6-6 with Northern Kentucky through 11 clunky minutes, the No. 16 Mountaineers ultimately generated enough offense to pull away for a 67-42 victory.

via WV MetroNews – Defense delivers when shots don’t fall at Northern Kentucky.

WV MetroNews – Give ‘em Liberty: Texas A&M awaits WVU in Memphis

West Virginia received an invitation to the Liberty Bowl, its rumored destination for weeks. Deciding which SEC opponent would face the Mountaineers took some dealing and shuffling Sunday afternoon.

The Southeastern Conference nixed a WVU-Tennessee matchup before settling on Texas A&M, pairing teams with 7-5 records and coaching staffs that are deeply connected.

Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen was offensive coordinator at Houston under Kevin Sumlin, who has since steered Texas A&M to three consecutive bowls. The Aggies’ offensive coordinator Jake Spavital was quarterbacks coach at West Virginia under Holgorsen.

The game will be played Monday, Dec. 29 at 2 p.m. Eastern

via WV MetroNews – Give ‘em Liberty: Texas A&M awaits WVU in Memphis.

The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: One True Champion? Not likely in Big 12

The Big 12 is, of course, the butt of all sorts of ridicule over its much-ballyhooed slogan, One True Champion. Of course, that won’t stop me from wearing the T-shirt around the house with that emblazoned on the back because, really now, a free T-shirt is a free T-shirt.

Still, it does seem unfortunate that right out of the box the league probably won’t have its one true champion. The only way that happens this weekend is if Kansas State beats Baylor and TCU loses at home to Iowa State. That not only would eliminate any ties at the top of the final standings, it would be the Big 12 equivalent of losing at home to a four-touchdown underdog Pitt team with a national championship berth on the line, what with its two playoff contenders being unceremoniously bounced.

No, otherwise there’s going to be a tie at the top between either Baylor and TCU or Kansas State and TCU. Here’s the sticky part: If it’s Baylor and TCU, then 1) those two remain in the mix for one of the four playoff spots, 2) technically they are co-champions, 3) there actually is a tie-breaker in place, but 4) the league won’t use it, at least not as far as the playoff is concerned.

Got it?

via The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: One True Champion? Not likely in Big 12.

Flatliner Lambert Making Waves – WVU Athletics

Strap an electrocardiogram machine up to Josh Lambert at any time of the day and his EKG readings would probably look just like his kicks – straight as an arrow.

Nothing seems to rile up West Virginia University’s sophomore kicker … not high-pressure situations, not game-winning field goal attempts nor season-altering plays. Nothing.

After West Virginia associate head coach Joe DeForest found out about Lambert through Chris Sailor’s nationally known high school kicking service a couple of years ago he did his homework on Lambert and the more digging DeForest did the more he liked him.

“For the last 14-15 years I’ve been working with Chris Sailor and Rubio Long Snapping and they are the best in the country,” said DeForest. “We use those guys to help us identify kids and I’ve been doing this for so long that I can see who can kick. It’s got to fit what we do. It’s got to fit my personality and his personality.”

via Flatliner Lambert Making Waves – WVU Athletics.

Buchanan Named M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Semifinalist – WVU Athletics

West Virginia University women’s soccer defender Kadeisha Buchanan has been named a semifinalist for the 2014 Missouri Athletic Club (M.A.C.) Hermann Trophy by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

The award is college soccer’s version of the Heisman Trophy and represents the highest level of individual achievement in the sport.

Buchanan is one of 16 student-athletes selected as semifinalist by a committee of Division I coaches who are NSCAA members. The Brampton, Ontario, native is one of four defenders to land on the list and one of two sophomores to make the cut.

Buchanan is the fourth Mountaineer to reach the semifinal round for the prestigious award and the second in as many years, as Frances Silva was a semifinalist in 2013. Chrissie Abbott (2003) is the team’s only finalist.

via Buchanan Named M.A.C. Hermann Trophy Semifinalist – WVU Athletics.

Hot Start Fueling WVU’s Juwan Staten in Final Season as a Mountaineer

Juwan Staten is a simple guy.

Aside from the exclusive invitations to the Chris Paul and LeBron James summer camps, the preseason individual national awards, and last year's impressive statistics – Staten still views himself as the same guy that entered the West Virginia University men's basketball program with something to prove in 2011.

It's what makes Juwan Staten a likable guy, loved and appreciated by his coaches and teammates, along with the fans.

“Every day in practice, he tells us the same thing: C'mon man, you've got to go hard – don't take nothing for granted – just play hard. But he definitely talked to me about being more aggressive,” WVU junior forward Jonathan Holton said during preseason interviews.

via Hot Start Fueling WVU’s Juwan Staten in Final Season as a Mounta – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Mountaineers climb to 16th in AP poll, begin preparation for LSU

After West Virginia made a five-spot jump to No. 16 in the Associated Press poll Monday, coach Bob Huggins made no bones about the most encouraging aspect of his team’s fast start.

“Seven wins,” he said.

When the SEC/Big 12 Challenge comes to Morgantown on Thursday night, the Mountaineers (7-0) will seek out their eighth victory against LSU. In preparation for that matchup, Huggins and his staff will scout the Tigers during their Tuesday game against UMass, a team that deploys a press similar to West Virginia.

“(UMass coach) Derek Kellogg will put the press on them and we’ll get to watch,” Huggins said on his weekly call-in show. “It helps us because we can see (LSU’s) alignment and figure out where we’re going to try to trap.”

via WV MetroNews – Mountaineers climb to 16th in AP poll, begin preparation for LSU.

Charleston Daily Mail | MOUNTAINEER GAMEDAY: Mountaineers focus on strong finish

The difference between a winning season and anything else is pretty easy to define for WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen.

“It would be a win this weekend and a win in the bowl game,” he said. “It would ensure us in more than a .500 record.”

He’s right because two wins leave the Mountaineers with eight for the season. A loss in Saturday’s regular-season finale drops WVU (6-5, 4-4 Big 12) to .500 with a bowl game likely against a SEC opponent waiting. The school hasn’t had successive sub-.500 seasons since Frank Cignetti went 5-6, 5-6, 2-9 and 5-6 from 1976-79.

The question that drew that response from Holgorsen was a little deeper, though. A loss to the Cyclones in the noon game at Jack Trice Stadium (Fox Sports 1) isn’t out of the question, and Holgorsen knows it. Anything can happen in a bowl game.

via Charleston Daily Mail | MOUNTAINEER GAMEDAY: Mountaineers focus on strong finish.

The Charleston Gazette | Iowa State a breather of sorts for Mountaineers

There is an argument to be made — a good one, by the way — that the football schedule West Virginia has faced this season is the most difficult of any in the school’s 122 years of playing the game.

Four times this season, the Mountaineers played teams that were either ranked among the top four in the country at the time or later would be — Alabama, Oklahoma, Baylor and TCU. It’s not likely, but the possibility exists that three of those could make up 75 percent of the first-ever College Football Playoff field.

A fifth opponent, Kansas State, has been ranked as high as seventh in the country, two others (Oklahoma State and Texas) have been ranked in the Top 25 this season and yet two more (Texas Tech and Maryland) were considered talented enough to at least receive votes in both of the major polls earlier in the season.

That accounts for nine of WVU’s 11 FBS opponents. Another, Kansas, is the antithesis of those ranked teams, playing so poorly that it fired its coach after four games.

via The Charleston Gazette | Iowa State a breather of sorts for Mountaineers.

The Charleston Gazette | Mountaineers host College of Charleston tonight

It has been a while since West Virginia has played a game at home in the Coliseum, and there’s a lot more buzz surrounding the squad now than there was then.

Since beating Lafayette on Nov. 16 in Morgantown to move to 2-0, the Mountaineers have reeled off four straight wins, including three in Puerto Rico in winning the Puerto Rico Tip-off tournament.

WVU added another win over VMI in the Charleston Civic Center on Wednesday and has broken into the Top 25, coming in at No. 21 this week.

Senior Juwan Staten has fought through a couple of mediocre seasons in a row for the Mountaineers, and said he expects quite the atmosphere today when West Virginia hosts the College of Charleston in a non-bracketed game from the Tip-off tournament.

The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on WOWK.

via The Charleston Gazette | Mountaineers host College of Charleston tonight.

WV MetroNews – Gameday: Tight games forced defense to stick with starters

For all the preseason talk about West Virginia’s defensive depth, a succession of close games has prohibited the Mountaineers from using much of it.

So the unit that takes the field at Iowa State during Saturday’s regular-season finale will be familiar, but a little more fatigued, than their coaches prefer.

Safeties Karl Joseph, Dravon Henry and K.J. Dillon have scarcely missed any meaningful snaps all season. The same goes for Mike linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski and defensive end Noble Nwachukwu, while nose guard Kyle Rose has exited only during some pass-rushing downs that allowed for situational packages.

“Every game except Kansas and Towson has been a battle,” said coordinator Tony Gibson, who relies on position coaches to sub in fresh players when situations allow. Thing is, those situations have been rare.

via WV MetroNews – Gameday: Tight games forced defense to stick with starters.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU BASKETBALL: No. 21 Mountaineers set records in blowout of VMI

In 106 seasons and 2,696 games of West Virginia University men’s basketball, never had an opponent turned the ball over 36 times in a single game. That happened here at the Charleston Civic Center on Wednesday night, and the Mountaineers had an awful lot to do with the statistic.

In addition to the record-breaking opponent turnover number, WVU tied a school record with 26 steals in a 103-72 win over VMI in front of a crowd of 8,102. The No. 21 Mountaineers entered the game in the top 10 in Division I hoops in turnover margin and steals.

“I was concerned because they shoot the ball so well and they play a bunch of guys who have ball skills,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “You saw what happened when they got out of the pressure, they just jumped up and made threes. I was hoping we could turn them over.”

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU BASKETBALL: No. 21 Mountaineers set records in blowout of VMI.

The Charleston Gazette | WVU sets school turnover record, pounds VMI 103-72

West Virginia flashed a new team and a new philosophy to the country in winning the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic which culminated with a victory over Connecticut on Sunday.

On Wednesday, a road-weary Mountaineers team shook off some early jet lag and showed even bigger things to the Capitol City.

WVU’s new-found pressure defense squeezed a school-record 36 turnovers out of VMI which led to 41 points as the Mountaineers sprinted away with a 103-72 win over the Keydets on Wednesday night.

A healthy crowd of 8,102 was on hand at the Charleston Civic Center.

West Virginia was playing its first game as a ranked team and looked every bit the part on Wednesday, using a 20-8 run at the end of the first half to push its lead to 53-35 at the break.

There was no Puerto Rico hangover.

via The Charleston Gazette | WVU sets school turnover record, pounds VMI 103-72.

The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: WVU in a giving mood this year

There are all sorts of Thanksgiving themes we could work with here in relation to one very important part of West Virginia’s football success — or lack thereof — this season.

They’re all really corny, though, so we’ll spare you the groans, save for saying that they deal with a spirit of giving and how it’s better to give than receive and all that nonsense.

It’s obvious, though, right? We’re talking about the generosity that the Mountaineers have shown on offense and special teams and the selfless act of seldom asking for anything in return via their defense.

It’s about turnovers, if you haven’t figured it out already.

“It’s a problem. We’ve addressed it,’’ coach Dana Holgorsen said this week. “I don’t know what else to say.’’

Or do, apparently.

via The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: WVU in a giving mood this year.

Mountaineers Roll in Charleston – WVU Athletics

Fresh off their Puerto Rico Tipoff championship, the No. 21-ranked Mountaineers took a little while to get warmed up, trailing the Keydets by one at the second TV timeout of the first half, but a Juwan Staten 3 and then 10 straight points from Carter – six coming on a pair of 3-point jumpers – keyed a 27-13 run over the remaining 7:33 of the half.

“Pretty good,” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins of Carter’s performance.

Freshman Daxter Miles Jr. also had a solid night in the scoring department with 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting.

“Those freshmen are very capable of having those kind of nights,” said Huggins. “They make shots. They can get it to the basket and they’re much more multi dimensional than some of the guys we’ve had in the past.”

In the second half, Huggins substituted liberally as West Virginia’s lead swelled to as many as 34 points on a couple of occasions.

via Mountaineers Roll in Charleston – WVU Athletics.

No. 21 WVU Routs Evansville, 83-39 – WVU Athletics

The No. 22/21-ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team rolled to an 83-39 victory over Evansville at the WVU Coliseum on Wednesday evening.

The Mountaineers (3-1) used a string of runs, including an eight point game-opening barrage, to take a commanding 41-22 halftime lead. Evansville (1-3) cut the deficit to single digits late in the first stanza, but were unable to accommodate for WVU’s physical pressure. The Mountaineers picked up 62 rebounds and outscored the Aces 48-14 inside.

For the second time this season, Bria Holmes eclipsed the 30-point mark with a game-high 32 points and a career-best 12 made field goals. The junior reeled in six rebounds and tied Linda Stepney for the team lead with five assists.

Wednesday evening marked a career-setting night for Crystal Leary, who tallied new personal bests with 14 points and four blocks. Averee Fields reached double-digits for the fourth straight game by adding 12 to the score column.

via No. 21 WVU Routs Evansville, 83-39 – WVU Athletics.

WATCH: WVU Basketball Postgame Video Interviews – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports

Watch full videos of WVU Basketball Coach Bob Huggins and his players following their win over VMI in Charleston.

via WATCH: WVU Basketball Postgame Video Interviews – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.