Bowl Eligible

The five-game losing streak is over, and West Virginia will be going to a bowl in Dana Holgorsen's second year.

Tavon Austin led the Mountaineers to a 31-24 win over Iowa State on Friday, and the senior inside receiver/running back/all-purpose star proved once again that he just isn't capable of being stopped. The Mountaineers fought back on Black Friday. They did just about enough, despite the usual mistakes.

For the first time since early October, West Virginia found itself on the right side of the win/loss column to the excitement of Mountaineer Nation.

It was a long time coming after an overtime loss at home to TCU and another close loss to Oklahoma in Milan Puskar Stadium last weekend.

This one was West Virginia's – finally.

After Iowa State took back a 24-23 lead in the fourth quarter, Austin took a touch pass from Smith toward the left side of the field and used a nice block on the outside to spring down the sideline and into the end zone. Austin converted a two-point conversion, as well to go up 31-24 with less than six minutes to play.

On the next drive, WVU linebacker Josh Francis was called for a personal foul penalty to keep a drive alive for the Cyclones. After that, it seemed like Richardson wouldn't be stopped again.

On third-and-10, an illegal hands to the face penalty continued the drive once again and put ISU inside the 10-yard line.

On the next play, safety Darwin Cook forced a fumble on the running back, and it was recovered by Karl Joseph in the end zone to end the scoring threat late in the game.

That seemed to be the game-changing play defensively the Mountaineers needed to win. It was a play WVU had barely received this season.

The Mountaineers haven't gotten breaks like that in a long time, so this was a needed change for them. It had to have it on Friday vs. a very intense and underrated Iowa State team.

West Virginia doesn't look like a team fit for a bowl game, and I hate to admit that after the way the Mountaineers opened the season. It will play in one and has a good chance of winning seven games if it can get past Kansas next weekend.

It seems so long ago that West Virginia was a top 5 team in the country. It seems so long ago that WVU won an actual football game.

That all changed on Friday in a gutty, hard-nosed ballgame the Mountaineers truly had to win.

While the Mountaineers won't be playing in a BCS bowl game this year or anything like that, it will continue an impressive bowl streak many programs would be jealous of.

With so much transition and change coming from an entire defensive overhaul and a move to a new conference, this is what many Mountaineer fans hope is just a first-year problem and not an every-year situation.


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