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HCS Op-Ed: Mountaineers Eye CFB Playoff

A lot of great things have happened recently with the WVU Mountaineers football team. They have shown that they can compete with anyone in the country. This alone is a complete 180 from the teams we have had the past two years.  They have shown the fortitude to come back from being down late in the fourth quarter, resiliency after committing turnovers, and the heart of the West Virginia football team that we have been longing for.

This past weekend, the previously ranked #4 Baylor Bears visited Morgantown in hopes of keeping their College Football Playoff hopes alive.  The Mountaineers came into the game as an 8.5 point underdog. In fact, the entire country had almost gave the Mountaineers little chance.  However, behind the offensive prowess and defensive backbone, the Mountaineers prevailed 41-27.  It was West Virginia’s first win over a top-5 team since 2003.  This also gave WVU a place in the AP Top 25 (#22); first time since Week 10 of 2012 (October 28).

Also, this past weekend, wide receiver Kevin White continued to show his talents to the nation. With his 7th game receiving over 100 yards, White continues to lead the nation with 1,020 yards. That places him 57 ahead of the next leading receiver, Rashard Higgins from Colorado State University. If White were to keep this pace, 145.7 per game, he will easily break current St. Louis Rams wide receiver, Stedman Bailey’s WVU record of 1,622 yards. White has recently been placed on the Biletnikoff Award watch list. Although he has amassed more yards and same number of touchdowns as Heisman-hopeful Amari Cooper, of Alabama, Kevin White has finally had his name included in this week’s ESPN Heisman Watch.

Now, it’s not all about Kevin White. Two words: Clint Trickett. Trickett has looked like a different quarterback from last season… and I’m not just talking about his hair. Right now, Trickett is 3rd in the nation in passing yards with 2,525 yards, 11th in completion percentage (68.2%), and 10th in total quarterback rating. This past weekend, Trickett put on a show for the Mountaineer family, NFL scouts, and the nation. For his 7th straight game, he’s been able to pass for over 300 yards. Some people have stated that Trickett could be the “dark horse” candidate for the Heisman. No one in America could’ve predicted this kind of output from Trickett. He is definitely in the running, if not the favorite for, the most improved player in the Big XII.

Clutch. That would be one word to describe the sophomore kicker Josh Lambert. He has continuously shown the nation what he and his leg are made of. Lambert has been the Mountaineers saving grace on two occasions. The first time, Lambert kicked a 47-yard winning field goal with four seconds left in the game against Maryland during week 3. Second occasion, a 55-yard field goal was kicked with three seconds remaining against Texas Tech in week six. Lambert has set a team record with four consecutive games kicking a field goal for over 50 yards.

West Virginia is a dark-horse for winning the Big XII. But, after beating Baylor, they control their own destiny. If WVU wins out, they could have a shot at the College Football Playoff.  Yes, it would take some help. But, the Mountaineers do play the current favorites at home.  Kansas State and TCU both come to Morgantown, while WVU has road trips to Oklahoma State, Texas and Iowa State.  If the Mountaineers continue to play to their full potential in all three facets of the game, they could win every game left on the schedule.  But, regardless, wherever you may be, it’s a great and proud time to be a Mountaineers fan! Here’s to more happy times singing “Country Roads”!

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