WVU foes lost some key players
The most documented fact heading into year three of the Dana Holgorsen era at West Virginia University is the offensive losses the Mountaineers have suffered with the departures of seniors Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Shawne Alston as well as junior Stedman Bailey.
But, little has been said surrounding the offensive attacks of the 12 teams that will make up the old gold and blue’s schedule in 2013.
Gone from this year’s slate of games are Marshall and James Madison, replaced by William and Mary and Georgia State.
Neither possess a quarterback like the Thundering Herd’s Raheem Cato, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have strong attacks.
The Tribe, WVU’s opening opponent, returns starting quarterback Raphael Ortiz (942 yards) as well as leading rusher Keith McBride (689) and top receiver Tre McBride (897).
Georgia State will make its first visit to Milan Puskar Stadium under the leadership of quarterback Ben McLane, who completed 139-of-274 attempts for 1,592 yards and 10 touchdowns a year ago.
Rounding out the trio of contests that will make up this year’s non-conference slate of games will be longtime rival Maryland.
The Terrapins will possess two of the most talented players the Mountaineer defense will face outside of the Big 12 in sophomores Perry Hills and Stefon Diggs.
Hills started the first seven games last season before suffering a torn ACL, completing 57.4 percent of his passes for 1,336 yards and eight touchdowns while Diggs led the team with 54 receptions for 848 yards and finished with 1,896 all-purpose yards.
Turning our attention to conference play, WVU will open against an Oklahoma team that will be minus starting quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Kenny Smith, but brings back Blake Bell at quarterback (9-of-16, 107 yards) and leading rusher Damien Williams (946 yds, 11 TD).
Oklahoma State will be without Wes Lunt, who transferred out, but will return senior Clint Chelf, who lit up the Mountaineer secondary for 292 yards in a 55-34 win last year
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury will be without Seth Doege, who completed 380-of-541 passes for 4,205 yards and 39 touchdowns.
Sophomore Michael Brewer or freshman Davis Webb will be the starter when the Red Raiders come to Morgantown.
The scenario will be the same when WVU travels to Baylor for the first time as senior quarterback Nick Florence and standout receiver Terrance Williams will be gone and at Kansas State, who will be dealing with the loss of senior quarterback, and Heisman Trophy finalist, Collin Klein.
Texas Christian senior Casey Pachall returns to solidify an already loaded position as the Horned Frogs return sophomore Trevone Boykin, whose 94-yard touchdown pass to Josh Boykin with 1:28 sent last year’s meeting into overtime.
WVU will also face a veteran under center (David Ash) when it plays host to Texas on Nov. 9, but will end the season against the Big 12’s worst two offenses – Kansas and Iowa State.