WVU may face five- game skid

In the end, West Virginia’s 37-27 loss to No. 15 Texas Tech will just go down as another setback in the still-young head coaching career of the Mountaineers’ Dana Holgorsen.

But, Saturday’s come-from-behind victory by the unbeaten Red Raiders may have long-lasting effects as WVU now must go on the road for the next two weekends – playing at Kansas State and TCU – with the knowledge that another five-game losing streak could be looming as the old gold and blue look to become bowl eligible in 2013.

Memories are still fresh when it comes to the Wildcats and Horned Frogs as KSU delivered a 55-14 thrashing to the Mountaineers a year ago while TCU needed some luck, but got it when WVU’s Cecil Level allowed the Frogs’ Josh Boyce to slip behind him for a 94-yard scoring pass that sent the game into overtime.

An extra period that witnessed the Mountaineers drop its third game in a row, 39-38, en route to a 7-6 final mark.

But, back to the present. When your back is against the wall, you need some luck.

West Virginia received that Saturday as a pair of Texas Tech fumbles turned into 10 points and a 13-13 tie at halftime on Homecoming Day in Morgantown.

For most of the first half, it appeared Mountaineer players would be in for a long day as the Red Raiders marched up and down the artificial surface at Mountaineer Field scoring the first 13 points of the game while WVU’s offense struggled to find any kind of consistency.

West Virginia’s offense looked like a unit that had not played in two weeks while TTU’s Davis Webb displayed the skills fans of the old gold and blue will have to endure for the next three seasons, if he stays in Lubbock (Texas) that long.

When WVU was able to move the ball, a costly turnover or a poorly thrown ball by Florida State transfer Clint Trickett would put an end to any hope of reaching the end zone.

Finally, a 33-yard field goal by Josh Lambert got the home team on the scoreboard, but it would be plays made by the defense and special teams – the two most maligned units following WVU’s 73-42 loss at Baylor – that would turn around the first 30 minutes.

And, when WVU went up by double-digits (27-16) in the third quarter, memories of the Oklahoma State upset began popping up.

But, instead of rising to the occasion, reality returned in the form of a defense that could not get off of the field, an offense that could not move the football, and special teams that are anything but special.

The end result was a predictable loss and – if WVU continues along this path – a foreseeable five-game losing streak that will end all hope of a bowl game and the possibility of having to win at Kansas and against Iowa State, in what won’t be a sold-out Mountaineer Field over the Thanksgiving break, the real likelihood of a 5-7 finish.

Contact Jim Butta at jbutta@newsandsentinel.com