The Charleston Gazette | TCU still a defensive power

The conversations this week regarding West Virginia’s game with TCU today have seemed almost to come from one of those parallel universes in the old Star Trek series.

Granted, it’s not unusual for these teams to go into a game where TCU’s offense and WVU’s defense were focal points. Usually, though, that was because everyone wondered if either unit ever would be not just good, but merely respectable.

In other words, remember when the Horned Frogs couldn’t score and the Mountaineers couldn’t stop anyone from doing so?

Well, welcome to the world of a conniving Kirk and a goateed, evil Spock. Things are completely upside down now.

via The Charleston Gazette | TCU still a defensive power.

The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: It’s all in the mind for WVU

Let’s face it, there is little reason to believe that West Virginia can’t win its final four games and earn a Big 12 championship and a New Year’s Six bowl berth.

Yes, the road is grueling, but the two most difficult games, against No. 10 TCU and No. 11 Kansas State, are at home and the road games are against teams that are struggling, Texas and Iowa State.

On the other hand, the reverse is also not out of the question. Facing two teams that are in the top 10 in the College Football Playoff rankings (TCU is No. 7 and Kansas State is No. 9) and going on the road to talent-stocked Texas and what could be a frigid Ames, Iowa, is no picnic.

Odds are the end result will be something in between. This much is certain, though: The Mountaineers are better equipped to handle this stretch than they would have been a year ago when the final four games were far less daunting and they had to go to overtime just to avoid losing them all.

West Virginia is better equipped for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is experience and depth and simply a vast improvement both offensively and defensively. But the real difference might be in mindset.

When the Mountaineers face TCU today at Mountaineer Field, it will be their fourth game against a top-10 team this season. A year ago, a gauntlet like that would have sent WVU reeling. The schedule a year ago wasn’t nearly as treacherous and it still resulted in a tailspin so out of control that not even woeful Kansas was a respite.

Now the Mountaineers are used to it.

via The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: It’s all in the mind for WVU.

WVU preparing for another big matchup

Welcome to West Virginia’s weekly “Game of the Year.”

This time it’s No. 7 TCU.

Before it was No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 Baylor.

Four teams in the Top 10.

Wonder if the schedule would have looked like that if Oliver Luck were football coach in addition to athletic director, but Dana Holgorsen, who is football coach, doesn’t seem to mind.

“As far as with what we’re concerned, it’s another big game. It’s another Big 12 game. It doesn’t matter where it’s at, shoot, it’s going to be a big game,” Holgorsen said.

It may not matter where it’s at to him, but rest assured he’d rather be playing it where it’s at … right here at Mountaineer Field in Milan Puskar Stadium with a sellout “True Blue” crowd turning out along with ESPN’s Game Day crew for the 3:30 p.m. kickoff.

via WVU preparing for another big matchup – Times West Virginian: Sports.

Football Friday, presented by WV Lottery – WVU Athletics

Tony Caridi and Dwight Wallace preview Saturday's West Virginia-TCU game at Milan Puskar Stadium. This is TCU’s second trip to Morgantown after the two schools joined the league in 2012. In that first meeting the Horned Frogs defeated the Mountaineers 39-38 in double overtime.

Last year’s game in Fort Worth was also an overtime affair with West Virginia winning this one on Josh Lambert’s 34-yard field goal.

Game coverage on Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG affiliates across West Virginia begins at noon with the Mountaineer Tailgate Show. Game coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET with the pregame show. Presented by the West Virginia Lottery.

via Football Friday, presented by WV Lottery – WVU Athletics.

No. 8 WSoc Nets Win in Regular-Season Finale – WVU Athletics

The seniors of the No. 8-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team earned a win in their final career regular-season game on the strength of a freshman’s leg, as forward Michaela Abam’s two goals helped the Mountaineers defeat Baylor, 2-0, this evening in wet, cold conditions at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

The victory pushes the Big 12 Conference champion Mountaineers’ (14-2-2, 7-0-1) unbeaten streak to 15 matches, three short of tying the program record. WVU has not dropped a home conference match since the 2009 season, and tonight’s win puts the team’s streak at 26 matches. 

“We have such a hardworking team this year; there are a lot of athletes that want to achieve great things on this squad,” said Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “This is a great bunch that doesn’t want to stop here.”

WVU has now earned seven wins in each of its three seasons in Big 12 play and owns an overall record of 21-1-2.

via No. 8 WSoc Nets Win in Regular-Season Finale – WVU Athletics.

WVU Topples Wheeling Jesuit in Exhibition Game – WVU Athletics

The No. 17th-ranked West Virginia women’s basketball team used a balanced attack to collect an 87-49 victory over Wheeling Jesuit during the annual Haunted Hoops exhibition game on Friday evening inside the WVU Coliseum.

The Mountaineers shot at a 41.9 from the field (31-of-74), holding the Cardinals to 27.5 percent (14-of-51) from the field.  WVU forced 28 Wheeling Jesuit turnovers that resulted in 38 points, while outrebounding the Cardinals 58-to-31.

All nine Mountaineers tickled the twine as Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Bria Holmes led the way by scoring a game-best 22 points and reeling in nine rebounds. Holmes picked up five steals and handed out three assists in 27 minutes of action.

via WVU Topples Wheeling Jesuit in Exhibition Game – WVU Athletics.

Tennis Completes Day One of Competition – WVU Athletics

The West Virginia University women’s tennis team completed the first day of the Martha Thorn Invitational at Ridgeview Racquet Club with two doubles wins and four singles victories.

The Mountaineers went two-for-two in doubles action, as duo Hailey Barrett and Ikttesh Chahal defeated Liberty’s Brittany Yang and Nicole Wellman with a score of 8-7 (4). In the afternoon session, sophomore Kaja Mrgole and Barrett bested Akron’s Shannon Newnes and Maria Bessmertnaya (8-3).

The freshmen class controlled the court in the afternoon session as WVU went four-for-four against Akron in singles play. Freshman Lyn Yuen Choo defeated Akron’s Ariadna Blinova with a score of 1-6, 6-0, 10-8, and picked up her 10th win of the season.

via Tennis Completes Day One of Competition – WVU Athletics.

In 3rd year, newbies WVU, TCU showing they belong in Big 12

Even the two meetings between the teams had a ring of familiarity. WVU won last season 30-27 in overtime in Fort Worth, Texas, and TCU won 39-38 in double-overtime in Morgantown in 2012.

Things have changed in Year 3. The Horned Frogs and Mountaineers are tied with Baylor for second place with one loss apiece going into their game Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium. Unranked at the start of the season, TCU is No. 10, and WVU is 20th.

“Now we're both sitting here with six wins and are doing pretty good,” Holgorsen said.

“I'm really excited for West Virginia,” TCU coach Gary Patterson told ESPN last week. “Because both of us had kind of been told up to this point that maybe there were questions whether we could play in this league.”

via In 3rd year, newbies WVU, TCU showing they belong in Big 12 | TribLIVE.

No. 8 Women’s Soccer Welcomes Baylor – WVU Athletics

With the 2014 Big 12 Conference regular-season title in hand, the No. 8-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team plays host to Baylor in its regular-season finale on Friday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m., at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.

Admission is free, courtesy of United Bank.

It’s “Senior Night,” and midfielder Ali Connelly, defender Jess Crowder, goalkeeper Katie Osterman and forward Kate Schwindel will be honored prior to first kick. It’s also “Alumni Night,” and past members of the WVU women’s soccer program will be recognized at halftime.

Fans are encouraged to celebrate Halloween at DDSS Friday night, and all are invited to wear their Halloween costumes. Youth fans may attend Trunk or Treat in the Coliseum band parking lot starting at 5:30 p.m. Additionally, the Mountaineer Maniacs will award prizes at halftime for the top-three costumes.

The Mountaineers (13-2-2, 6-0-1) look to become just the seventh team in Big 12 history to win the regular-season title without a loss, a feat the squad also achieved in 2012. The team has not dropped a home conference match since Oct. 2, 2009, a span of 25 matches.

via No. 8 Women's Soccer Welcomes Baylor – WVU Athletics.

New Faces, Same Goals Await 2014-15 WVU Men’s Basketball

If West Virginia University basketball fans are wondering what this year's team is going to look like, then look no further than Head Coach Bob Huggins for the answer.

On second thought, Huggins admitted he's still trying to figure out what this year's team is capable of. With so many new faces with so little game experience, he's left guessing at the possibilities for the 2014-15 Mountaineers.

“How we're going to react when there are people in the stands and the lights come on,” Huggins replied when asked what he's unsure about with this year's WVU team. “How we react to changing defenses. We've worked the last couple days against zones, which you wonder if you can make enough shots. But we're able to do things that we couldn't do before. We're able to throw it into the interior of the defense and score, which we couldn't do before.”

“So we're better in a lot of areas, I think,” Huggins concluded.

via New Faces, Same Goals Await 2014-15 WVU Men’s Basketball – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WATCH: WVU Women’s Basketball Prepares for Upcoming Season

WVU Women's Basketball Head Coach Mike Carey is back at it in 2014-15, leading the Mountaineers towards another run at a Big 12 Conference Championship.

West Virginia won its first Big 12 Conference regular season championship in school history one year ago. But most of the players to lead Carey's team to the title have all graduated.

Asya Bussie, Christal Caldwell, Brooke Hampton, Jess Harlee and Taylor Palmer all played significant roles on last season's team, and all have moved on due to graduation.

via WATCH: WVU Women's Basketball Prepares for Upcoming Season – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – Dynamic Boykin brings purple rain of touchdowns

“He’s the most improved player in college football,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said of Boykin, whose future seemed to be at receiver when these teams met in Fort Worth last November. Boykin caught 11 passes worth 100 yards that afternoon, making the most of a positional swap as Casey Pachall took the snaps.

Pachall’s graduation hardly bequeathed the job to Boykin. Instead he was viewed as the second choice to the newly arrived Matt Joeckel, whose two seasons behind Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M provided operational training for the type of spread attack TCU was installing.

Yet it was Boykin who looked most comfortable—and most dangerous—driving the new offense. The success he enjoyed against Samford, Minnesota and SMU to begin the season was encouraging (79-of-123 with eight TDs, one INT and 286 average yards), yet it wasn’t validated until he kept up the pace against Oklahoma, Baylor and Oklahoma State (67-of-124, six TDs, two INTs, 338 yards). Then came last week’s Heisman-launching head-spinner: Throwing for 433 yards and seven touchdowns in an 82-27 flogging of Texas Tech.

via WV MetroNews – Dynamic Boykin brings purple rain of touchdowns.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: TCU linemen make each other better

They play on opposite sides of the ball at TCU, but they’re on the same page about one thing.

Center Joey Hunt and defensive tackle Chucky Hunter can drive one another crazy.

“Off the field, we’re boys, but we’re both competitors and we both get heated out there,” Hunt said. “There are scuffles once in a while, but that’s because we both want to win and we both know only one of us is going to, which means the other one isn’t going to like it. When I win, Chuck gets mad. When Chuck wins, I get upset.”

They rattle one another on purpose, but they also do it with a purpose.

“The great thing about having good teammates is they want to make you better as a player,” Hunter said. “Joey makes my game so much better.”

Though their rise and their ranking this season is linked to a redesigned offense, the Horned Frogs have long been renowned for defense. Hunter, preseason first-team all-Big 12, is merely the latest defensive lineman to make a name for himself under coach Gary Patterson.

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: TCU linemen make each other better.

Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Kevin White on Kevin White clash looms vs. TCU

Kevin Whites are going to be busy Saturday.

West Virginia’s star receiver, who was held to season-low totals of three receptions and 27 yards in Saturday’s win against Oklahoma State, was the first receiver to reach 1,000 yards and is still third nationally in receiving yards per game and second in receptions.

TCU cornerback Kevin White has 25 tackles, two interceptions and four pass break-ups.

They’ll see one another Saturday when 20th-ranked WVU plays host to the 10th-ranked Horned Frogs at Mountaineer Field. The game will be televised on ABC.

The players with the same name have similar games, too.

“He’s very hands-on,” said WVU’s White. “He’s quick out of his breaks and a lot of times he beats the receiver out of his breaks. He has good hands. He plays the ball really well. He talks trash. He’s a good player.”

via Charleston Daily Mail | WVU FOOTBALL: Kevin White on Kevin White clash looms vs. TCU.

The Charleston Gazette | Double-teaming White opens up other facets of WVU offense

But pay too much attention to White and WVU has proven it can adapt. For the Mountaineers, it’s simply a matter of adjusting on the fly.

“There’s a gray area, kind of. You want to get your best players the ball as much as you can,’’ said quarterback Clint Trickett. “But if they’re just going to completely give it away and let you do something else that’s going to be successful, you’ve got to do what’s going to be successful.

“I think Kevin knows that, I know that. The way he’s played is getting a lot of attention, whether it’s from media or defensive coaches.’’

For the most part last week Trickett, who has a considerable amount of leeway in where he goes with the ball on each play, just let White hog those two defenders and ignored him. He did go to White downfield once in the second half and just overthrew him near the goal line, but that was almost accidental.

via The Charleston Gazette | Double-teaming White opens up other facets of WVU offense.

The Charleston Gazette | WVU notebook: Holgorsen not anxious about CFP rankings

The first set of rankings from the College Football Playoff committee were released Tuesday night and West Virginia, ranked No. 20 in the latest Associated Press poll, was also listed at No. 20 on the playoff list.

Dana Holgorsen, though, said he wasn’t exactly on pins and needles waiting.

“I know this sounds like coachspeak, but I’m not too concerned with it at this point,’’ the West Virginia coach said. “They’re not asking me what my opinion is on it. I mean, Oliver Luck’s on the committee and he’s not asking me what my opinion is on it, either.’’

One of the 12 members of the committee is Luck, the WVU athletic director.

The committee will rank a Top 25 each week now through the end of the regular season. Those rankings will not only determine the four teams selected for the first-ever playoff at the FBS level, but the participants in the four other New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day bowls. This year the playoff semifinals will be in the Rose and Sugar bowls. The other bowl matchups determined by the rankings are the Fiesta, Cotton, Chick-fil-A and Orange.

“It’s going to be good for the media, it’s going to be good for college football,’’ Holgorsen said. “But we’re going to worry about the things that we can control, which is all about TCU.’’

via The Charleston Gazette | WVU notebook: Holgorsen not anxious about CFP rankings.

Men’s Soccer Nets Third Straight Win at Penn – WVU Athletics

A goal in the eighth minute of play gave the West Virginia University men’s soccer team a 1-0 win at Penn on Tuesday evening.

The victory was the third straight for the Mountaineers, who improved to 9-6-1.

“We’ve had to become more of a resilient squad,” coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “We’ve lost some guys to injury and we’ve asked some guys to step up and play bigger roles and bigger parts. I think they’ve done that. As the year has gone on, we have settled in to our team and settled in to our style.”

via Men’s Soccer Nets Third Straight Win at Penn – WVU Athletics.

Big 12 Visits Morgantown for Campus Tour – WVU Athletics

The tour began with a visit to Stepping Stones, a non-profit recreational center for people with disabilities. Senior Averee Fields spent time with a handful of athletes playing basketball.

The Big 12's Wendell Barnhouse sat down with interviews with Coach Mike Carey and select athletes inside the Basketball Practice Facility to preview the upcoming 2014-15 season. 

Crystal Leary interviewed teammate Linda Stepney.  Fields answered rapid fire questions, while Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Bria Holmes sat down for questions about the upcoming year. 

via Big 12 Visits Morgantown for Campus Tour – WVU Athletics.

WATCH: WVU Football Players, Coaches Look Ahead to Showdown Agai – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports

West Virginia University football players and assistant coaches spent time talking with the local media on Tuesday afternoon, preparing to host No. 10 TCU for a 3:30 ET kickoff, which will be televised nationally on ABC.

via WATCH: WVU Football Players, Coaches Look Ahead to Showdown Agai – WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News – Mountaineer Sports.

WV MetroNews – WVU at No. 20 in college playoff rankings; Shell ‘ready to go’ vs.TCU

West Virginia weighed in at No. 20 in the first-ever College Football Playoff rankings, and a number of teams ahead of the Mountaineers look quite familiar.

In compiling a 6-2 start, West Virginia has faced No. 6 Alabama, No. 13 Baylor and No. 18 Oklahoma. Yet to come are games against No. 7 TCU on Saturday and vs. No. 9 Kansas State on Nov. 20, both of whom have a legitimate shot to crash the national semifinals should they win out.

While it’s hard to envision any scenario whereby the Mountaineers climb into the Final Four discussion, they are riding a four-game winning streak and control their own destiny in the Big 12 title race. ESPN’s simulations give West Virginia a 9.6 percent chance of winning out, which is better odds than K-State (3.4 percent). TCU’s chance of going unbeaten over its final five games stands at 30.4 percent.

Kickoff time for West Virginia-TCU is 3:30 p.m. on ABC.

via WV MetroNews – WVU at No. 20 in college playoff rankings; Shell ‘ready to go’ vs.TCU.