Mario Alford

Chippy AutoZone Liberty Bowl sees Kyle Allen’s 4 TDs give Texas A&M halftime lead

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Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen has thrown for three touchdowns and rushed for one more to help the Aggies hold a 28-27 lead on West Virginia at halftime of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee. The two teams have already combined for over 500 yards of offense and things should not be expected to slow down in the second half.

Texas A&M struck first with a 44-yard touchdown pass from  Allen to Josh Reynolds on the second possession of the game for the Aggies. West Virginia seemed to take firm control of the game in the span of about three minutes with a 17-point flurry that included a field goal, a Mario Alford touchdown catch from Skyler Howard and a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown by KJ Dillon in the middle of the first quarter. But this game is not one where a team can let up on the gas pedal. West Virginia saw the 17-7 lead last for only a few minutes before A&M answered with a long touchdown pass from Allen to Trey Williams, a 40-yard strike.

Texas A&M regained the lead early in the second quarter with Allen’s third touchdown pass of the half, this time a much more pedestrian 11-yard hook-up with Malcome Kennedy for a 21-20 lead. Unfortunately for the Aggies, the defense gave it right back when West Virginia needed just two plays to jump back in front. Howard completed a 49-yard touchdown pass to Kevin White for a 27-21 lead.

The game has been chippy at times, with Texas A&M players getting their licks on West Virginia’s quarterback. The Aggies have also been penalized six times for 82 yards. There have also been some cheap shots, like this one…

It turns out the same coach did this earlier as well…

Texas A&M Howard Matthews was ejected from the game midway through the first quarter of the game after being called for targeting on West Virginia receiver. Matthews was Texas A&M’s leading tackler this season with 82 tackles, so the ejection is without a doubt a significant blow to the Aggies on defense.

Mariota, Gordon headline Phil Steele All-America team

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Everyone has an All-America team these days. Heck, now that they’ve got some free time I hear the folks at Serial are going to pump out their own 2014 All-America team next week.

However, in crunching out their own list of 25-odd players, no one crunches more data than Phil Steele. The man is already a quarter of the way through his initial work for the 2015 season.

Anyway, on to current matters, the 2014 Phil Steele All-Americans can be found below. Second through 27th-team All-Americans can be found here.

Offense
QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
RB Tevin Coleman, Indiana
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama
WR Rashard Higgins, Colorado State
WR Rashad Greene, Florida State
TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota
C Reese Dismukes, Auburn
OL Spencer Drango, Baylor
OL Jake Fisher, Oregon
OL Tre’ Jackson, Florida State
OL Brandon Scherff, Iowa

Defense
LB Hau’oli Kikaha, Washington
LB Scooby Wright, Arizona
LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA
LB Bernardrick McKinney, Mississippi State
DB Landon Collins, Alabama
DB Gerod Holliman, Louisville
DB Senquez Golson, Ole Miss
DB Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
DL Joey Bosa, Ohio State
DL Malcom Brown, Texas
DL Nate Orchard, Utah
DL Shane Ray, Missouri

Specialists
K Brad Craddock, Maryland
P Tom Hackett, Utah
KR Mario Alford, West Virginia
PR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State

Unable to cash in on turnovers, No. 10 TCU trails No. 20 West Virginia 13-7 at the half

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Under normal circumstances, turning the ball over three times – all in your own territory – in one quarter is an automatic death sentence against TCU. This, however, is not normal circumstances.

Playing its first game outside the state of Texas all season, No. 10 TCU trails No. 20 West Virginia and its swarming, aggressive defense 13-7 before a raucous Milan Puskar Stadium crowd on a rainy Morgantown day.

The Mountaineers built a 13-0 lead after marching 75 yards in 10 plays to open the game, capped by a 23-yard pass from Clint Trickett to Mario Alford. West Virginia then moved another 51 yards in 14 plays, but Dreamius Smith was stuffed on a 3rd-and-2 near the goal line, forcing a Josh Lambert 21-yard field goal. West Virginia then recovered an onside kick and turned it into a 44-yard Lambert field goal at the 3:52 mark of the first quarter.

TCU quelled thoughts of a blowout by responding with a six-play, 83-yard drive, punctuated by a 47-yard screen pass from Trevone Boykin to Deante’ Gray.

The Horned Frogs had plenty of chances to take the lead in the second quarter, but capitalized on none of them. The Frogs recovered a Rushel Shell fumble at the WVU 43, but lost three yards before punting. Chris Hackett intercepted Trickett and returned it to the West Virginia 21, but a chop block sabotaged the TCU possession. Later in the quarter Hackett forced a Wendell Smallwood fumble at the West Virginia 23,  but Boykin threw an interception two plays later.

Outside of the 47-yard touchdown, Boykin is 4-of-15 for 26 yards and an interception, and the TCU ground game has mounted only 56 yards on 13 carries. The Frogs have just five first downs and are 2-of-7 on third down.

West Virginia has managed 128 rushing yards and Trickett has thrown for 108 more.

TCU receives the ball to open the second half.

West Virginia punches first, OK State punches back; No. 22 WVU leads 14-10 at the half

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No. 22 West Virginia looked like it was going to walk into Stillwater and come away with an easy victory. Seven minutes and 11 seconds into the game, the Mountaineers led 14-0 and quarterback Clint Trickett was making it look easy, hitting Kevin White for a 19-yard score and Mario Alford for a 79-yard catch-and-dash.

And then… it all stopped.

Oklahoma State stopped taking punches and then landed a few of its own, notching a 40-yard Ben Grogan field goal a minute into the second quarter and an eight-yard scoring strike from Daxx Garman to Teddy Johnson midway through the frame to bring us to our 14-10 halftime score.

West Virginia has been conservative, almost too conservative, carrying the ball 19 times for 85 yards while Trickett has hit 10-of-15 throws for 165 yards and those two scores. Wendell Smallwood has the bulk of West Virginia’s ground yards, carrying 11 times for 80 yards. Glenn Spencer’s defense has mostly bottled up All-America candidate White, limiting him to just one grab for four yards other than the touchdown.

Garman has completed 14-of-23 passes for 176 yards with a touchdown and a pick, while the Cowboys have accumulated 123 rushing yards through a committee of Brandon Shepard (one rush, 51 yards), Tyreek Hill (nine for 45) and Desmond Roland (nine for 34).

West Virginia will receive the ball to open the second half.

Trickett passes for 511 yards as WVU clips Maryland with last second FG

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West Virginia kicker Josh Lambert was one of two on field goal tries at Maryland n Saturday, but the one just happened to be the game-winner. Lambert’s 47-yard field goal as time expired gave West Virginia (2-1) a thrilling 40-37 victory over Maryland (2-1) in non-conference action. West Virginia  quarterback Clint Trickett passed for 511 yards and four touchdowns in the game and Kevin White led the way with 216 receiving yards.

Maryland was down 10 points entering the fourth quarter but stormed back in the fourth quarter with a 69-yard punt return by William Likely tying the game at 37-37 with plenty of time left in the fourth quarter. That was when the defenses for both teams managed to show up in a game that saw over 1,000 yards of offense between the two schools. West Virginia racked up 694 yards of offense to Maryland’s 447 yards.

Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown passed for 241 yards and led the Terrapins on the ground with 161 rushing yards and two combined touchdowns. Receiver Stefon Diggs was the leading receiver for the Terps with 127 yards and a touchdown. West Virginia running back Rushel Shell led the Mountaineers on the ground with 98 rushing yards. Mario Alford complimented White’s receiving production with 130 yards and two touchdowns. Eight different players caught a West Virginia pass and seven different players got a chance to run with the football. Maryland spread the ball around as well with five different players running the football and seven different players catching a pass.

Maryland will look to regroup next week against their brief former ACC rivals from Syracuse. Maryland will play at Syracuse next Saturday. West Virginia should be feeling pretty good about the offense as they open Big 12 play next weekend at home against Oklahoma. West Virgina will host the Sooners in a primetime match-up after Oklahoma faces Tennessee tonight.