WVU does enough to get back in win column

For the past month, West Virginia just hasn't been able to put it together.

And during the early portions of Saturday's game against Iowa State, it looked as if that same Mountaineer team showed up in Ames.

WVU fell behind early, trailing 21-7 against a Cyclone team that seemingly controlled all the momentum and looked as if it was going to have a chance to take the game. But West Virginia was finally able to step up, come back and make enough plays when it mattered to leave with a win that might not look like a lot on paper but was very important as this team prepares for its bowl game over the course of the next month.

Iowa State might not be the best team in the world, with Saturday's loss running the Cyclones to just 2-9 for the year and a game away from potentially finishing without a victory in Big 12 Conference play, but West Virginia had to be able to do some things it hasn't done in a while in order to walk out of Jack Trice Stadium with a win. When things got tough, the Mountaineers had to persevere. They had to finish.

For the most part, they did. It wasn't the prettiest thing in the world to watch at times, but West Virginia looked like as good as it has in a while Saturday in terms of its confidence.

A big reason for that, partially was because of how important ending the season on a positive note was for the Mountaineers. To put it the way that junior inside receiver Jordan Thompson did after the game, "finishing 6-6 looks a lot worse than 7-5 does."

Seeing the dip this team has taken the last few weeks has been tough to watch at times. On more than one occasion, WVU has looked flat, unmotivated and like it had given up once it fell behind against teams. But you didn't see that Saturday.

Armed with a first-time starter at quarterback, an offense that was more balanced than it's been in a while (the Mountaineers had 285 yards through the air and on the ground Saturday) and a defense that, with the exception of three bad drives at the beginning of the game in which Iowa State marched up and down the field with ease, was able to control the field and not put itself in many bad spots, West Virginia battled from start to finish against the Cyclones and left the game with a winning record in the regular season and its first winning season against conference opponents since moving to the Big 12.

Again, a lot of that could have been because Iowa State simply was not as good as the Mountaineers. But the same could have been said of the Kansas team a year ago that had its best game of the season (and possibly in a few seasons) and upset WVU in Lawrence.

This game had a similar feel to that one. Neither team had a ton to play for, the home team underdog started out fast and West Virginia found itself in a situation where it had to decide how it was going to react. Were the Mountaineers going to give in and let another inferior opponent leave with a victory, or would they stand up and fight and take care of business like they were supposed to do?

And at the end of the day, WVU was able to step up and do what it needed to do to end its regular season on a positive note.

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