Doege Start Sparks WVU Win Over K-State

Doege Start Sparks WVU Win Over K-State

You kind of knew what Neal Brown had up his sleeve on Tuesday when he told Mountaineer Nation he had a plan worked out for his quarterbacks but wouldn’t divulge what it was.

Like what was this game coming up at Kansas State, the Super Bowl?

West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege communicates in the backfield
West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege communicates in the backfield

In some ways it was, considering his team had not won a game since September 21, when it beat Kansas. The Mountaineers had not even led anyone since October 15, a span of 15 quarters.

If he was going to start Austin Kendall again, the man who had started every game this year, why play hide and seek?

Yes, he was going to start Jarret Doege, and the Bowling Green transfer who debuted off the bench last week to get the rust off, led his team to a 24-20 victory that keeps the Mountaineers’s slime bowl hopes alive.

Who is Jarret Doege?

He’s a kid from Lubbock, Texas, who first came into Neal Brown’s line of sight in his preteen years when Brown was offensive coordinator at Texas Tech and his starting quarterback was the record-setting Seth Doege, Jarret’s older brother.

He was, you might say, destined to emerge in this moment, completing 20 of 30 passes for 234 yards and three touchdowns — two of them to George “The Touchdown Machine” Campbell. Campbell now has 14 catches on the year, six of them touchdowns.

“He’s special,” said inside linebacker and special team coach Blake Seiler, a K-State graduate and former coach at his alma mater who joined WVU this year. “He’s one of those guys who just has ‘IT!’ He was our scout team quarterback and was dropping dimes on us.”

It was fitting that he should connect with Campbell.

“He’s my roommate,” Doege revealed. We both came in during the summer and didn’t have a place so got together. I told him if I threw my first touchdown to him it would be insane.”

It was.

It was on the third touchdown pass, the winning touchdown pass, that Doege showed just what having “IT!” is.

WVU faced third and 23 at midfield and trailed 20-17. Doege went back to pass but Kansas State sent everything at him. He snaked through the wave of defenders, scrambling to his left when he looked downfield and saw Bryce Wheaton all alone, as if he had forgotten to use his deodorant that morning.

West Virginia receiver Bryce Wheaton speeds to the end zone on a 50-yard touchdown catch
West Virginia receiver Bryce Wheaton speeds to the end zone on a 50-yard touchdown catch

He unleashed the pass, not a perfect one but it didn’t have to be. Wheaton gathered it in and jogged into the end zone to give WVU the lead.

“I was thinking go through my progression and I saw Bryce wide open. Fortunately, I got it off just before I got hit. I didn’t know what happened. When I looked up after getting up off the ground he was in the end zone,” Doege said.

So how was the decision reached to make the quarterback switch?

“Basically, a week ago the reps were 60-40 in practice for Kendall,” Brown said. “We decided to flip that this week and see how it went, which was why I did not make an announcement.

“As I said last week, Austin wasn’t why we had struggled but we’d lost five in a row and needed a change up.”

And so the decision was made.

Kendall, as you would expect and hope, was upset, but life for a quarterback is never easy. Ask Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.

But Doege was hardly the day’s only hero.

He had to make room for senior cornerback Hakeem Bailey, who has ridden the roller coaster of inconsistency throughout his career.

As it was, the game came down one play at the end, K-State needing a long drive for a winning touchdown. After moving from their own eight-yard line to the West Virginia 30, they opted to throw to Dalton Schoen, who on the Wildcats’ first play of the game had broken wide open for a 65-yard touchdown pass.

The same thing had happened last week against Texas Tech and WVU never recovered. This time they did.

“It’s a long game,” Bailey said. “We were looking to our offense to give us motivation. If they tie it it’s just like it is 0-0 again.”

And they did, which allowed WVU to get down to the deciding moment as K-State tried to hit Schoen with the game on the line.

“He’s their leading receiver and I was on him a lot. On the interception he hit me with a stop and go but I caught up to him,” Bailey said.

They both went for the ball and Bailey came away with it, allowing WVU to come away with the game.

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