WVU can now have panel ’42 -6 ‘| WVU SPORTS


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A sign hung in the Mountaineers’ locker room throughout the offseason simply read “42-6”.

This sign served as a constant reminder of the defeat Iowa State inflicted on West Virginia in the 2020 regular season finale.

This was a motivating factor not only for the 21 rematch against the Cyclones, but also for the entire season ahead.

The 2021 campaign started off slow for WVU as it was 2-4 at the halfway point, but things started to change with a 29-17 victory at TCU last week. Then, this Saturday, West Virginia’s offseason motivation swept over Mountaineer Field with a No.22 ranking.

“Honestly, that was the motivation for our entire offseason,” said WVU linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo. “This same team embarrassed us last year. We had persistent issues last year with COVID and things like that, but the product we put into the field was embarrassing. So they motivated us and the whole program.

West Virginia got their revenge on Saturday, picking up a relentless 38-31 victory over the Cyclones. This is WVU’s second victory this season against a ranked opponent, after beating No. 15 Virginia Tech, 27-21, earlier in the year.

The Mountaineer defense needed two red zone stands in the fourth quarter to hold onto the win over the ISU.

“We’ve been working a lot this week,” said Chandler-Semedo. “Like I said earlier, this team embarrassed us last year. We had a little more mojo because of it. We worked everything to prepare. We were ready to play a four-quarter game, or even longer if necessary. Whatever the cost.

The West Virginia defense got some huge saves at the end, and for most of the game WVU’s offense was heavy as well. Prior to its trip to Morgantown this weekend, Iowa State had the best scoring defense in the Big 12, limiting its opponents to 17.0 points per game.

The Mountaineers hung 38 on ISU, however. That equated to the most points West Virginia had scored in Neal Brown’s three years as head coach against a Big 12 foe, and it was the most the Cyclones had given up in a 42-41 loss to Oklahoma in 2019.

“We had a huge chip on our shoulder going into this game,” admitted WVU quarterback Jarret Doege, who completed 30 of his 46 passing attempts on Saturday for a career-high 370 yards. “We really wanted to make a statement about the quality of our team. When we do our job and do the things that we train for, we can be a great football team.

Wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton counted for six receptions and 106 of those passing yards on Saturday. He also had two touchdowns on the highlights.

Ford-Wheaton was unable to make it to Ames last year due to COVID. While not on the field for the 36-point loss, he said the loss still hurt, even though he was 860 miles away.

“I felt helpless watching us get beaten up like this from the house,” Ford-Wheaton recalls. “Everyone took this personally, and we’ve had a chip on our shoulder all week – really, all year. We knew we had to get one against them. It was a big point of attention. We had to get physical, defensive and offensive results, and we did.

Another mountaineer who took last year’s loss personally was running back Leddie Brown. Brown was limited to 65 rushing yards on 20 carries at Jack Trice Stadium last season, but he hit 109 rushing yards on 22 attempts in this year’s rematch.

“We knew when we got there that it would be a four-quarter game, and we had to fight for the four quarters. We did it. We didn’t bend under the pressure, ”said Brown, who has 2,465 career rushing yards, placing him ninth in WVU history.

And now the “42-6” sign can come down.

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