Allison Gets Little Help Off Bench In WVU Loss

Allison Gets Little Help Off Bench In WVU Loss


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A beautiful autumn moon was rising over Milan Puskar Stadium just as the sun was setting on any chance for victory West Virginia had against a superior Iowa State football team Saturday evening.

The Mountaineers had given all they had to give but the truth of the matter was they really didn’t have much of chance going in due to injuries, and it took only one series before they added another crucial one as starting quarterback Austin Kendall took a blow to his chest which ended his evening’s work.

West Virginia quarterback Jack Allison communicates with coach Sean Reagan in the press box
West Virginia quarterback Jack Allison communicates with coach Sean Reagan in the press boxAll of a sudden, the game was in the hands of Jack Allison, the backup quarterback who had played only one series all season, making an ill advised throw against Missouri that was picked off and sent him back to the bench.

The running game netted only 41 yards in 28 carries, which figures out to 1.5 yards per carry. Taking that one step further it means that if they averaged that on every run they could carry six times and still be a yard short of a first down.

“We’re not built personnel-wise to knock people off the ball and in this league you have to do that,” said Matt Moore, the offensive coordinator.

It was not a criticism, simply a statement of fact that will be addressed via recruiting as the Neal Brown era moves forward.

This left Allison on an island without either a boat or a companion.

It isn’t like it’s easy at any time to be standing on the sideline one minute and then suddenly warming up with the game plan rushing through your head and adrenaline through your vein.

He downplayed the sudden change in situation for him.

“I was involved in the game plan all week,” he said. “I know I’m one play away from in there, especially at quarterback.”

The problem is, against a team like Iowa State which has a difficult defense to read, the emphasis in preparation goes on the starting quarterback.

“You kind of get into a Catch-22 when you get into a game plan week and you have to do some things to give yourself some opportunities against someone who’s pretty good on defense,” head coach Neal Brown said. “You have to do some different things.

“When you do different things, you want to make sure your starting quarterback is getting a ton of those reps. Jack didn’t get a lot of reps so we kind of had to right there in the middle of the first quarter change and basically went to some plays he was comfortable with.”

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And Allison played as well as you could hope, although he would hear none of that.

He completed 18 of 24 throws for 140 yards and a touchdown and interception against a team that knew WVU couldn’t run the ball, and so was playing pass defense first.

Allison refused to place blame anywhere but on himself, and that was unfair to him and the job he did.

“I didn’t make enough plays to help my team at the end of the day,” Allison said. “Everyone fought hard. The offensive line had a hell of a day. The running backs ran hard. The receivers ran hard. I just have to make more plays to help my team.”

In truth, they had to make more plays to help him.

For example, WVU had moved into Iowa State territory early in the second quarter with the score tied. Allison completed a pass to running back Leddie Brown, only to have Brown fumble the ball away.




At that point, Cyclone quarterback Brock Purdy took them down the field 66 yards to a go-ahead touchdown, scoring after a pass interference call in the end zone on Kerry Martin gave them the ball at the two-yard line.

Later on, Allison did throw his interception but that did not affect the outcome.

Still, he was willing to take it upon himself.

“A couple of plays I wish I had back. Obviously the interception. I can’t force that throw at all. I’ve got to find the check down. And there were a few plays no one would notice but there were reads I didn’t make that I have to make,” he said.

WVU now has two straight losses, a banged up quarterback and will be without cornerback Hakeem Bailey for the first half next week due to his ejection for targeting.

Oh, next week’s opponent?

Oklahoma, on the road.

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