Holgorsen: WVU Responded To Toughness Issues

Holgorsen: WVU Responded To Toughness Issues


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia responded to Dana Holgorsen’s challenge.

Lamenting his team’s lack of physicality, Holgorsen called out the Mountaineers after a loss to Oklahoma State last week that showcased a distinct lack of toughness. Against an Iowa State program built largely upon that concept, WVU was significantly better, controlling ISU up front early and using the ground game to build a 20-0 lead.

And when one side of the ball went south – the Mountaineer offense was shutout in the second half – the other side stepped up, as West Virginia made a key goal line stop of Iowa State to force a field goal, then held the Cyclones on four downs via three consecutive incompletions to seal a second win over a Top 25 team this season.

“I’ve been pretty critical of our guys for about three weeks now,” Holgorsen said. “I thought we took a step in the right direction going to Baylor, then took a step back against Oklahoma State. That was part of the conversation. The Oklahoma State issues were across the board at every position in toughness. You need to be able to be tough players.”

That showed in the running game as WVU racked up 208 yards while holding Iowa State to just 101. The Mountaineers iced the contest with Kennedy McKoy’s 17 yard rush off a delayed draw on third and 17, and it jumped to the early lead on the legs of Justin Crawford, who hit 102 yards to top the century mark for the sixth time this season – but the first time in four games.

“Running the ball against what they did was definitely going to be important because they play dang near a prevent defense,” Holgorsen said. “Creasing them and getting the run game going was something we talked a lot about. The line of scrimmage was being established, and it’s been a few weeks since I said that.”

The win makes West Virginia bowl eligible at 6-3 overall, and keep the Mountaineers mathematically mired in a tight race for the Big 12 title game at 4-2. Iowa State drops to the same 6-3, 4-2 record.

“It was an important win,” Holgorsen said. “We didn’t hold back. The coaches knew, the players knew. It was important for us to win this one. … It started in our Sunday as coaches. As coaches we need to get more out of them. Our coaching staff stepped up and challenged them and they responded. It makes me proud to say they responded after being called out.”

Holgorsen was then asked exactly what was said, giving him the opportunity for an amusing line.

“I can’t tell you that,” he said. “There were words. Use your imagination.”

#WVU Head Coach Dana Holgorsen

Posted by BlueGoldNews.com on Saturday, November 4, 2017