Holgorsen proud of teams focus
Entering Saturday's contest at Kansas, an argument could be made that West Virginia had a limited source of motivation and yet had every reason to believe they could still find a way to beat the worst team in the Big 12 Conference.
During the game, West Virginia looked like anything but a team with little to play for.
Under head coach Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia blew out lowly Kansas, 49-0 to become bowl eligible.
"If there's ever a situation where you shouldn't be ready to play, this is it, with all due respect to Kansas," Holgorsen said after the win. "It's cold, windy and no one is here, but our guys didn't care and made it about us."
Two years ago, West Virginia was unable to create its own energy in the very same matchup. The inability to get ready to play cost them bowl eligibility as Kansas snapped a 27-game Big 12 losing streak in a 31-19 win over the Mountaineers.
Many of the same players that were on team then for West Virginia, played in the game today.
"We knew what it was going to be like here, so it was important to us to rectify what happened two years ago. A lot of our guys took that to heart," Holgorsen said. "It had nothing to do with Kansas, but everything to do with us and our inability to handle that situation two years ago. It meant a lot to our team to come here and play well, so we attacked the week really good."
Consistent preparation continued on Saturday morning prior to kickoff. Holgorsen had a team meeting scheduled for 6:45 a.m. before the team was to depart for the stadium. All his players were in the meeting room before 6:30 a.m., so Holgorsen was able to start his meeting 15 minutes early.
The game plan offensively discussed in that meeting and throughout the week was simple; Holgorsen wanted run the football.
West Virginia ran the ball 55 times for 426 rushing yards and five touchdowns while averaging 7.7 yards per carry. Quarterback Skyler Howard as well as running backs Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell each carried for more than 100 yards to become the first trio of rushers to eclipse the 100-yard mark in school history since 1969.
Holgorsen called run plays 62-perent of the time on Saturday.
"You don't rush for over 400 yards or even average 240 yards per game without good play from an offensive line," Holgorsen said. "Running backs are doing a good job of running behind their pads and Skyler (Howard) is doing a great job of making decisions in the run game that are allowing him to get free."
Now bowl eligible, Holgorsen and his team will look to even up their conference win-loss record to a .500-mark when they host Iowa State at Milan Puskar Stadium.