Mountaineers look to keep bowl hopes alive today

MORGANTOWN – Dana Holgorsen believes his West Virginia football team isn’t too far away from being a winning squad.

“I think we are close,” the Mountaineers coach said. “I think we’ve been close all year. We are playing quality teams. We are getting better. We are playing a lot of young guys. I’m hoping it happens this year.”

Now’s the time to prove it.

During the course of the next three weeks, West Virginia (4-6, 2-5 Big 12) plays two teams with a combined three wins, none in conference play.

First up, Kansas today.

The Jayhawks (2-7, 0-6) are currently on a six game losing-streak and have been outscored 251-85.

Kansas hasn’t won a conference game since November of 2010.

“Offensively, (Kansas has) been spotty, another situation where they have been playing two quarterbacks,” Holgorsen said. “What they do with the two is different. They have the (Jake Heaps) kid, who’s a pocket guy and comes in to throw it around. He’s got a couple of weapons. Then when they put (Montell Cozart) in it turns into more of a running quarterback game. They are going to utilize him to try and move the ball forward.”

Heaps has connected on 50 percent of his passes for 1,204 yards and seven touchdowns, while Cozart has completed only 11 passes for 133 yards, two more than he has rushing.

Running back James Sims is the Jayhawks best offensive option as he averages 78 yards per game. He’s complimented by Darrian Miller, who has 349 yards on the season.

Tony Pierson is the only Kansas receiver with more than 200 yards as he has totaled 321 on 23 receptions with one touchdown.

“I’ve studied them about four or five times pretty closely because the teams we’ve already played have played Kansas,” Holgorsen said. “They have different plan of attack every time they line up. They’re looking for an identity on offense like many Big 12 teams are when you play two different quarterbacks who do different things for you. They have a few different guys like Sims and Pierson that scare you. The quarterback has some athletic ability. We are going to have to identify what their plan of attack is, talk about it on the sidelines, and change our defensive attack or communicate what they are trying to get done.”