West Virginia coach Neal Brown knew he would use reserve quarterback Austin Kendall within the second half. The redshirt senior ended up main the Moutaineers to a Liberty Bowl victory.
Kendall threw a 20-yard landing go to T.J. Simmons with 5:10 left, and West Virginia held off Military 24-21 on Thursday.
Brown stated the choice to modify quarterbacks was made at halftime by the Mountaineers teaching employees after starter Jarret Doege struggled, notably within the second quarter.
“Jarret has performed very, very nicely all 12 months, however for no matter cause, he didn’t see it nicely,” Brown stated, including: “I assumed (Kendall) got here in in aid and did a pleasant job.”
Military (9-3) had an opportunity to tie it with 1:50 left, however Quinn Maretzki’s 39-yard area objective was large left. Josh Chandler ended Military’s last possession with an interception and led the Mountaineers (6-4) with 13 tackles.
Simmons additionally scored on a 5-yard go from Doege.
Military quarterback Tyhier Tyler had three speeding touchdowns — from 1, 6, and a couple of yards — to tie a Liberty Bowl file.
“You may’t do something with out the offensive line, the slotbacks and the fullbacks,” Tyler stated. “They pave the best way, and I simply observe.”
The Black Knights initially had been scheduled to play within the Independence Bowl however appeared ignored of the bowl lineup after the Shreveport, Louisiana, bowl was canceled. They obtained the chance to play within the Liberty Bowl after Tennessee (3-7) opted out due to COVID-19 circumstances.
The sport was performed in overcast circumstances with occasional showers and sub-40-degree temperatures. The climate and native COVID-19 restrictions restricted the gang within the 60,000-seat Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, leaving clusters of the introduced 8,187 followers scattered all through the stadium.
Each crew managed the opposite’s offense via a lot of the primary half. Military coach Jeff Monken famous that his crew, top-of-the-line speeding groups within the nation, was restricted to 83 complete yards by halftime.
“West Virginia simply whipped blocks, they beat blocks,” Monken stated. “(They) obtained themselves the place they wanted to be to make the play. They usually did that lots.”
What started as a defensive battle, modified after halftime. Military’s speeding offense obtained untracked, whereas a change in quarterbacks to Kendall for West Virginia gave it extra firepower via the air.
“I assumed this recreation form of mirrored 2020 in plenty of methods,” Brown stated. “A becoming method to shut out the 12 months. It wasn’t a factor of magnificence, but it surely was gritty.”
Military: The Black Knights’ vaunted speeding offense couldn’t transfer early, not selecting up their preliminary first down till the ultimate play of the opening quarter. Finally, they’d some success attacking the perimeter of the West Virginia protection.
West Virginia: Whereas the protection managed issues early, the Mountaineers couldn’t capitalize sufficient to construct a big lead. Turnovers damage West Virginia, particularly Doege’s fumble deep in his personal territory late within the first half, giving Military a lead. Kendall taking up at quarterback made a distinction as he threw for 121 yards and two touchdowns within the second half.
Military was down eight gamers who didn’t gown for the sport, a lot of them key elements of the crew, due to well being and security protocol.
“I don’t know if it modified,” Monken stated. “Clearly, when you’ve gotten gamers which are a giant a part of your offense and protection, kicking recreation included, it modifications you some.”
The loss snapped the Black Knights three-game profitable streak. “Probably the most painful facet is simply not being end it,” linebacker Arik Smith stated. “Being that shut and never having the ability to end it. However we are going to regroup and do that once more, and we are going to win.”
Military: The Black Knights , who ended the common season on a three-game profitable streak, will try to proceed its profitable methods. There are 17 seniors listed on the Military roster, however 4 of the 5 offensive line starters are seniors.
West Virginia: Whereas the Mountaineers misplaced 4 video games in the course of the common season, three of these had been to groups nationally ranked on the time. With key offensive gamers similar to Doege and main rusher Leddie Brown with one other years of eligibility together with a younger corps of receivers, the Mountaineers have a pleasant future on offense.