Dec 31, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback JT Daniels (18) warms up prior to the Orange Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game against the Michigan Wolverines at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Georgia QB JT Daniels transfers to West Virginia

Quarterback JT Daniels is hoping the third time is the charm.

Daniels told ESPN on Wednesday that he’s transferring to West Virginia. The Mountaineers will be the third team for Daniels, who entered the NCAA transfer portal after two seasons at Georgia. He also played two seasons at Southern California.

“Going up and down the roster, I feel like they have very, very good pieces everywhere,” Daniels told ESPN. “It feels like a great fit for a quarterback. I feel like there’s a really, really, really good team that I’m going to step into and do my part to contribute.”

Daniels selected West Virginia over Missouri and Oregon State after recently visiting the schools.

Daniels also will see a familiar face in Graham Harrell, who is the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the Mountaineers. Harrell was the offensive coordinator with the Trojans when Daniels attended the school in 2019.

“It definitely helped knowing Graham coming into it and having a really good relationship with him,” Daniels said. “Knowing that I trust that offense and that system, and I believe in it. I also feel really comfortable with Coach Brown and the ideas that he has and the way that he runs a program.”

Daniels completed 68 of 94 passes for 722 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions in five games last season with national champion Georgia. He battled oblique and lat muscle injuries during the season.

His college career began with promise at USC before a knee injury in 2019 allowed Kedon Slovis to emerge as the Trojans quarterback.

Daniels is expected to battle returning quarterbacks Garrett Greene and Will Crowder and incoming freshman Nicco Marchiol for the starting job in West Virginia. Jarret Doege, who started the past two seasons, transferred to Western Kentucky.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Jarret Doege (2) throws a pass against the Kansas Jayhawks during the first half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

WVU QB Jarret Doege transferring to Western Kentucky

Former West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege announced Sunday he is transferring to Western Kentucky.

“Excited to finish out my career at @WKUFootball!” Doege posted on Twitter.

Doege completed 65.2 percent of his passes for a career-best 3,048 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 13 games for the Mountaineers (6-7) in 2021.

He has thrown 79 touchdown passes over the last five seasons at Bowling Green State (2017-18) and West Virginia (2019-21).

–Field Level Media

Dec 28, 2021; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan (2) throws the ball against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the first half at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota’s defense stifles West Virginia in Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Ky Thomas and Mar’Keise Irving each rushed for more than 100 yards Tuesday night and Minnesota’s defense stifled West Virginia throughout an 18-6 win at the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix.

The Golden Gophers (9-4) were superior across both lines of scrimmage and flaunted their physical strength against the shorthanded Mountaineers (6-7). West Virginia played without leading rusher Leddie Brown, who opted out of the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft, and was outrushed 249-66.

Thomas finished with 144 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, while Irving chipped in 129 yards on 19 attempts. Quarterback Tanner Morgan didn’t have to throw much, completing 8 of 13 passes for 109 yards with an interception.

Jarret Doege tried to carry the Mountaineers’ offense, but he was under the gun all game long. He hit 18 of 31 attempts for 140 yards with an interception and was sacked five times.

The only points in the second half came on a 49-yard field goal by Minnesota’s Matthew Trickett with 5:53 left in the third quarter. The Gophers reached the 3-yard line with 2:19 remaining in the game but opted to take knees and gave the ball back with four seconds on the clock.

Minnesota initiated scoring just 41 seconds into the second quarter by giving the ball to a guy who normally blocks for touchdowns. Offensive tackle Daniel Faalele, who is 6-foot-9 and 380 pounds, plowed 2 yards up the middle for the score.

The Gophers’ subsequent 2-point conversion left West Virginia in chase mode thereafter. While the Mountaineers responded with Doege’s 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal with 8:48 left in the half, their two-point try failed.

Minnesota upped the margin to 15-6 with 2:14 remaining as Thomas capped a 61-yard drive with a 5-yard run. His 50-yard jaunt two plays prior to the touchdown set the Gophers up at the West Virginia 9.

The Mountaineers’ bid to add at least a field goal before the half died when Doege’s pass under duress was picked off by Michael Dixon at the Minnesota 16 with 36 seconds on the clock.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Jarret Doege (2) drops back to pass against the Kansas Jayhawks during the first half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

WVU, Minnesota enter Guaranteed Rate Bowl off strong stretch runs

West Virginia coach Neal Brown puts his perfect bowl record on the line when the Mountaineers oppose Minnesota on Tuesday in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Phoenix.

After West Virginia failed to reach the postseason in 2019 in his first year at the helm, Brown guided the Mountaineers to a victory over Army in the Liberty Bowl last year. He also went 3-0 in bowl games during his 2015-18 stint as head coach at Troy.

West Virginia (6-6) had to win its last two games to make the postseason this year, part of a 4-2 finishing run.

Minnesota (8-4) ended on an even more impressive surge, winning six of its final eight contests, including an upset of then-No. 14 Wisconsin to end the regular season.

Brown said of the Golden Gophers, “They’ve had a tremendous year. If you look at them defensively, their stats speak for themselves. They’re in the top 10 or top 15 in numerous categories. … They’ve held almost every opponent under their season averages. …

“On offense, they want to run the football. Tanner Morgan at quarterback is a winner. If you look at his win-loss record throughout his career there in Minnesota, he’s done a very nice job of that. They control the clock and they run the football, and they are able to hit (long) plays down the field. So we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

West Virginia’s offense will be led by quarterback Jarret Doege, as running back Leddie Brown (1,065 yards, 13 touchdowns) opted out of the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft.

Doege started last year’s Liberty Bowl, but West Virginia’s 24-21 win over Army mostly happened with him on the sideline. He was benched for Austin Kendall after going 15 of 25 for 159 yards with an interception and a touchdown. Kendall led a rally for the victory.

Doege has thrown for 2,908 yards, 19 scores and 11 interceptions this year while completing 65.8 percent of his passes.

Minnesota rode its defense to get to this point. The Golden Gophers didn’t allow any of their past six opponents to gain more than 300 yards, and they permit an average of just 284.8 yards per game, which ranks fourth in the nation.

Minnesota’s offense played every game except its opener without star running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who tore his Achilles tendon after rushing for 163 yards in a 45-31 loss to Ohio State. Three different backs have compiled at least 550 yards in his place, with Ky Thomas leading the way with 680.

“This will be a terrific challenge for our team,” said Gophers coach P.J. Fleck of the bowl game.

He added, “When you look at this year, could we have won some more games? Maybe, but that discredits the people who beat us. Could we have lost some games? Sure, but credit to our team for pulling out those victories. …

“These guys did a tremendous job of finding a way to win eight games. When you look back at it, we got the most out of them, and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”

The bowl game will be the first meeting of the West Virginia and Minnesota programs.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Winston Wright Jr. (1) celebrates with wide receiver Kaden Prather (3) after scoring a touchdown against the Kansas Jayhawks during the first half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia runs wild vs. Kansas, becomes bowl-eligible

Leddie Brown and Tony Mathis each logged 100-yard rushing performances and Jarret Doege fired three touchdown passes Saturday as West Virginia became bowl-eligible by downing Kansas 34-28 at Lawrence, Kan.

Brown surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season, gaining 156 yards on 19 carries, including a 44-yard touchdown. Mathis added 118 yards as West Virginia rushed for a season-high 264 yards.

Doege completed 16 of 21 passes for 170 yards and overcame a pick-six as the Mountaineers (6-6, 4-5 Big 12) rolled to 436 yards of total offense. Sean Ryan led all West Virginia receivers with five grabs for 87 yards.

After Kansas (2-10, 1-8) forged a 21-21 tie early in the second half with a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown by Gavin Potter and a two-point conversion pass to tackle Earl Bostick, the Mountaineers stiffened.

They scored 13 unanswered points while getting end zone interceptions from Josh Chandler-Semedo at the 10:31 and 3:12 marks of the fourth quarter.

Jalon Daniels scored on a 3-yard rush with 1:46 remaining, but the Jayhawks could not recover an onside kick and the Mountaineers ran out the clock. Daniels completed 22 of 32 passes for 249 yards with one touchdown. Amaur Pesek-Hickson added 60 yards on 12 rushes.

Kansas finished last in the Big 12 for the fifth straight season.

Doege threw all three of his touchdowns in the first half, completing 13 of 16 passes for 157 yards to stake the Mountaineers to a 21-13 halftime lead.

Winston Wright caught a pair of 14-yard TD strikes before Doege executed a late 57-yard march in just 1:23, finding Sam James for a 7-yard score with 17 seconds left.

Brown rushed for 89 yards on 12 carries as West Virginia generated 261 first-half yards, including 10 gains of 10 yards or more against a Kansas defense ranked 126th nationally.

Kansas managed to cap two of its first three possessions with field goals before Daniels fired an 8-yard touchdown to Jared Casey with 7:26 left to draw the Jayhawks within 14-13. Daniels passed for 134 first-half yards.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold questions a call during the first half against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Improved Kansas looks to block West Virginia from bowl

Anyone who thinks bowl eligibility is assured for West Virginia has not put in the same amount of time scouting Kansas as Neal Brown.

The coach of the Mountaineers (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) sees massive improvement in the Jayhawks (2-9, 1-7).

Each team posted wins over Texas, giving Brown a common opponent to measure the teams against. West Virginia will seek to qualify for a bowl bid in their Saturday matchup at Lawrence, Kan.

Brown said most obvious is the impact first-year coach Lance Leipold has provided after previously preparing for the Kansas coach’s schemes. Brown’s last game as Troy’s coach in 2018 resulted in a Dollar General Bowl victory over Buffalo, then coached by Leipold.

“If you look at what they did at Buffalo in getting that to its peak,” said Brown, “they are great talent evaluators, schematically they do a really good job and their kids always play extremely hard. That’s no different than what they are doing (at Kansas).”

Inconsistency has afflicted the Mountaineers all season. They are coming off a performance Brown described as “clean” after executing 87 snaps with no turnovers and three penalties while amassing 459 yards in beating Texas 31-23.

West Virginia will attempt to match its longest win streak (two) of the season behind Jarret Doege, who leads the Big 12 in passing with a 249-yard average but has thrown a league-high 10 interceptions against 16 touchdowns. Leddie Brown averages 83 yards per game rushing and gained a season-high 158 yards against Texas.

Coming off its stunning overtime upset of Texas, Kansas played TCU to the wire before falling 31-28. In that game, Jalon Daniels burned his redshirt with his second start and completed 22 of 30 passes for 255 yards. He missed early practices this week while nursing some minor ailments but is expected to play.

Daniels’ favorite target has been Kwamie Lassiter, who ranks fifth all-time at Kansas in receptions (141).

The Jayhawks, however, could be without their top rusher, Devin Neal, because of an injury he suffered at TCU. Amauri Pesek-Hickson would be next up out of a thin corps of rushers after subbing in for Neal.

“When things come like that, it’s next man up,” Lassiter said. “I’m going to preach that every day as long as I’m playing football. So, it’s next man up. We trusted Amauri and we ran with it.”

Despite its recent surge, Kansas ranks last in the Big 12 on offense and defense in scoring and yards.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Leddie Brown (4) runs the ball and is tackled by many Texas Longhorns defenders during the first quarter at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia hands Texas its sixth straight loss

Jarret Doege passed for 290 yards and three touchdowns and Leddie Brown rushed for 158 yards and a score as West Virginia snapped a two-game skid with a 31-23 win over Texas on Saturday in Big 12 action in Morgantown, W.Va.

The wire-to-wire win kept bowl hopes alive for the Mountaineers (5-6, 3-6 Big 12) and extended the losing streak to six games for the Longhorns (4-7, 2-6), their longest since 1956.

Doege threw TD passes of 20 yards to Sam James, 14 yards to Winston Wright and 7 yards to Sean Ryan, the latter giving the Mountaineers a 28-17 lead late in the third quarter.

The Longhorns, playing without star running back Bijan Robinson, struggled in the first half offensively but rallied under backup quarterback Hudson Card to pull within 28-23 early in the fourth quarter.

A late 45-yard field goal by the Mountaineers’ Casey Legg and an interception on Texas’ ensuing drive clinched the win for West Virginia.

Card passed for 123 yards and a touchdown before being forced from the game late in the fourth quarter. Keilan Robinson had 111 yards and a 49-yard TD on nine carries for Texas.

The Mountaineers drove 75 yards on the game’s opening possession, with Doege finding James to establish the early lead. West Virginia added to its advantage with an 11-play, 80-yard march that was capped by Doege’s toss to Wright in the back corner of the end zone with 13:44 to play in the second quarter.

Texas didn’t have a first down until its fifth possession but that’s when it found its footing and the scoreboard on Robinson’s long TD run that closed its deficit to 14-7 with 8:34 to play until halftime.

Brown answered for the Mountaineers with a 2-yard TD run at the 2:34 mark of the second quarter.

Cameron Dicker’s 50-yard field goal pulled Texas to within 21-10 at the half.

Card hit Xavier Worthy for a 52-yard TD connection to cut the West Virginia advantage to 21-17 in the third quarter. But the Mountaineers responded with another long drive that ended with a touchdown pass from Doege to Ryan.

Texas got a 6-yard scoring run from Roschon Johnson with 12:25 to play but the Longhorns failed on a two-point conversion pass.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton (0) celebrates with West Virginia Mountaineers running back Leddie Brown (4) after catching a pass for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Iowa State Cyclones at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Tested West Virginia, No. 11 Oklahoma State brace for nail-biter

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy views experience in close games as the potential vital point of separation when the No. 11 Cowboys take on unranked West Virginia Saturday afternoon in a Big 12 clash in Morgantown, W. Va.

“This will be a fourth-quarter game,” Gundy said. “We need to get to the fourth quarter with these guys.”

Gundy’s Cowboys (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) won their first three games — nonconference affairs against Missouri State, Tulsa and Boise State — by a total of 13 points. Oklahoma State began Big 12 play defeating Kansas State by 11 and Baylor by 10 before notching a comeback win over Texas.

The only blemish this season for the Cowboys is a 24-21 loss to Iowa State.

West Virginia beat Iowa State 38-31 last week after getting its first league win, 29-17 over TCU.

“They’re playing really well right now,” Brown said of the Mountaineers (4-4, 2-3) “and, hopefully, we can get in that position to where the experience that we have had in five or six games should help us, I would think, because we’ve been there.

“We need to put ourselves in a position where we’re in a competitive game in the fourth quarter.”

The Mountaineers might not mind a fourth-quarter game. WVU rallied from a 31-24 deficit with two fourth-quarter touchdowns while their defense came up with a key stop at the goal line to keep the Cyclones scoreless over the final 15 minutes.

“They could be the best 4-4 team in the country,” Gundy said. “Particularly playing really, really well at home, playing really good defense. They’re very disruptive.”

The Cowboys will challenge that defense with a running attack spearheaded by Jaylen Warren.

“Jaylen Warren runs a physical as anybody in our league,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “The Big 12 this year is blessed with a lot of super talented running backs, and here’s another one.”

Warren ranks in the top five in rushing in the league with an average of 106.3 yards per game.

“He runs the ball angry,” Brown said. “He is a violent runner. He gets down hill. He breaks tackles. He’s impressive.”

West Virginia will counter with the league’s most productive passer and a running back coming off consecutive 100-yard rushing games.

Jarret Doege threw for 370 yards against Iowa State and averages 258.9 passing yards a game. Leddie Brown backed up his 111-yard rushing performance in the win over TCU with 109 against Iowa State.

Brown confirmed that the Mountaineers will be without veteran tight end Mike O’Laughlin, who has 11 catches in five games. Brown said that O’Laughlin and junior corner Nicktroy Fortune will miss the rest of the season because of lower body injuries.

TJ Banks started in O’Laughlin’s spot last week and Charles Woods started at corner for Fortune and was credited with four tackles and a pass breakup.

West Virginia great Major Harris will become the fifth Mountaineer to have his number retired in a ceremony after the first quarter of Saturday’s game.

–Field Level Media

Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell celebrates with running back Breece Hall after Hall scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to help the Cyclones upset No. 8-ranked Oklahoma State on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

20211023 Iowastatevsokst

Climbing No. 22 Iowa State rolls into West Virginia

With victories last week, unranked West Virginia and No. 22 Iowa State took a step forward in the Big 12.

Those wins set up what could be a crossroads collision Saturday afternoon in Morgantown, W.Va.

The host Mountaineers (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) are coming off an impressive 29-17 victory at TCU that ended a three-game skid and rejuvenated their post-season hopes while the Cyclones (5-2, 3-1) knocked off previously unbeaten Oklahoma State 24-21 to jump right back into the conference race.

The Cyclones are one of three teams with one league loss behind undefeated Oklahoma. Baylor and Oklahoma State are the other one-loss clubs in the Big 12.

This is pretty much where the Cyclones, No. 7 in the Associated Press preseason Top 25, were expected to be prior to the season. But this isn’t where some saw Iowa State after the Cyclones suffered losses to Iowa and Baylor in September to fall out of the Top 25.

“I think we’re catching them playing their best football of the year,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “They’re a team that gets better.”

The matchup will feature four of the top offensive players in the Big 12.

Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy is the second-leading passer in the Big 12 with an average of 235.4 passing yards per game. Only West Virginia’s Jarret Doege, who leads with a 243 yards per game, has averaged more this season among league passers.

Iowa State’s Breece Hall is the No. 2 rusher in the conference with his 818 yards. He has scored a touchdown in 19 consecutive games.

“You’re talking about a guy that’s probably in the Heisman Trophy race,” Brown said of Hall. “He was last year, and he’s playing his way into it this year.”

West Virginia’s Leddie Brown doesn’t have numbers as big as Hall’s but is No. 8 in the conference with 533 yards. Brown rushed for 111 yards in last week’s win over TCU and is tied for third in the league in total touchdowns (10) and is tied for fourth in rushing scores (nine).

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell calls Brown an “elite” tailback.

“You’re talking about a guy who a year ago was neck-and-neck, him and Breece, for the conference rushing title,” Campbell said. “You’re talking about a young man who’s got elite vision, big powerful, strong, and can really run.”

Campbell expects to have leading tackler Mike Rose available. The senior linebacker was in and out of last week’s game and is dealing with what Campbell described only as a “structural” issue.

“He seemed really good yesterday,” Campbell said during Tuesday’s meeting with the media. “We feel very confident that he’ll play in the football game. I don’t think it’s an issue that is going to be very long.”

This will be West Virginia’s first home game since a 23-20 loss to Texas Tech on Oct. 2. The Mountaineers lost 45-20 at Baylor, beat TCU and had an open date the last three weeks.

“We’re glad to get back home,” Brown said. “It seems like we haven’t been here in a really long time.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Tony Mathis Jr. (24) runs the ball and is tackled by TCU Horned Frogs linebacker Dee Winters (13) and TCU Horned Frogs linebacker Wyatt Harris (25) during the first quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Brown, defense carry West Virginia past TCU

Leddie Brown carried 24 times for 111 yards and scored on three short touchdown runs and the West Virginia defense pitched a shutout in the second half as the Mountaineers defeated TCU 29-17 on Saturday evening in Big 12 play in Fort Worth, Texas.

West Virginia (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) snapped a three-game losing streak and beat TCU for the fourth consecutive time. The Mountaineers forced three TCU turnovers in the second half.

Jarret Doege was 21 of 28 passing for 257 yards for West Virginia as eight different receivers caught passes. The Mountaineers, who came in averaging 108 yards rushing per game (last in the conference) rushed for 229 yards in the win.

Max Duggan passed for 244 yards and a touchdown for the Horned Frogs (3-4, 1-3) but was intercepted twice in the second half. TCU has lost four of its past five games.

Derius Davis opened the game with a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown that gave the Horned Frogs a 7-0 lead before most of the crowd was settled in its seats.

West Virginia answered with a 27-yard field goal from Casey Legg on its first possession. Brown then put the Mountaineers on top via a 5-yard TD run that culminated a 15-play, 94-yard march that consumed almost eight minutes of the first quarter.

Legg added a 38-yard field goal at the 9:07 mark of the second quarter that came four snaps after a 67-yard zone-read run by Garrett Greene, the Mountaineers’ backup quarterback.

TCU regained the lead on Duggan’s 5-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Taye Barber with 5:17 to play in the first half.

Brown scored on a 1-yard run with 2:51 to play in the second quarter, but TCU answered with a 24-yard field goal by Griffin Kell with 14 seconds remaining to move to within 20-17 at the half.

Legg nailed a 49-yard field goal with 3:56 to play in the third quarter that pushed the West Virginia lead to 23-17. Brown rammed into the end zone from 3 yards out early in the fourth quarter but failed on a two-point conversion pass.

–Field Level Media