Reviews, Special Teams Work Against WVU

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — We live in this age of technology and, know what, it stinks.


Sitting in a bar the other night I looked off to my left and looked to my right. To my left, four guys were buried with their face in their phones. To my right, five others had their faces in their phones.

No conversation. Bars used to be fun. No more. So was football. No more.

The whole idea of technology, which is most familiar in sports through its use of replay, is to get things right. They don’t.

The fourth quarter was a technological nightmare for WVU, as three calls wound up going against them, making you wonder if the guys in the striped shirts shouldn’t have been in prison stripes, not football official stripes.

Not that Coach Dana Holgorsen, never really a fan of officiating, was about to involve himself in that discussion.

“I won’t talk about the officials … never. I’d like to, but I don’t have to,” he said. “It didn’t affect our team at all. We gathered the defense on the sidelines and set up their reverses and said we have to go out and stop them.”

But Dana …

The offensive interference call on David Sills V — a fine young man who never would break any rules, let alone interfere offensively — was shown to be ridiculous by the replay shown on television but not used to get the call right.

Clearly, the defender had hold of his jersey, yanking at so hard that had it been one of those old tearaway jerseys they would have had to arrest Sills for public nudity.

Then there was a call for a late hit performed on Sills that was called … and reversed, the officials saying it was a legal hit. Didn’t use the technology for that one … and they should have, if they have it.

It clearly showed Sills was out of bounds when he was hit.

And then there was an interception by Elijah Battle near the goal line that replay reversed … perhaps rightfully so as he bobbled the ball, but the fact of the matter is that officials aren’t supposed to get every call right, just as a quarterback doesn’t complete every pass.

They call what they see and the world would be a better place and games would be a whole lot shorter if you let them do that. If they are wrong … maybe those guys in the bars would be arguing about the calls and having a good time doing it rather than killing aliens on their phones.

Now let us understand, the officials’ calls didn’t defeat West Virginia. TCU did. The Horned Frogs followed the usual routine used in beating WVU, which goes for the glitter rather than for simple efficiency.

TCU’s special teams play was immaculate while WVU’s once again wasn’t.

The Horned Frogs’ punter Adam Nunez was the MVP of the first half, four times pinning WVU inside the five while Mike Molina not only missed a 27-yard field goal but also booted a kickoff out of bounds, leading to the winning touchdown off a drive on a shortened field.

And there was a matter of coaching … not bad coaching by WVU but spectacular coaching by TCU’s veteran coach Gary Patterson, who tossed in a reverse to wide receiver Jalen Reager on fourth and one during the TD drive and then had another wide receiver, KaVonte Turpin, run what looked like a reverse, only to throw back to Hill for a long touchdown.

Patterson’s explanation?

“If you are going to win championships, you have to make plays,” he said.

And, in the end, TCU made the plays and WVU didn’t.

Or did they?