Dana Holgorsen would be lying if he told you that Wednesday night's Russell Athletic Bowl ended the way he wanted it to, but despite the disappointing finish Holgorsen made it clear that he was still proud of his West Virginia team and the way the played throughout the 2016 season.
"We got beat by a good football team," Holgorsen said. "I'm not going to allow it to be negative. Like Tyler (Orlosky) said a minute ago, there's 21 seniors in there and their legacy is being the best football team that West Virginia has had in its five years in the Big 12. There's a lot to be proud of. 10 wins doesn't happen to often and we're disappointed we didn't get to 11. The fan base is disappointed and the coaches and players are disappointed but we're going to hang our heads high and understand that we had a fantastic football season."
That season ended just minutes before Holgorsen was interviewed and there was no question that the result was disappointing, especially because the Mountaineers squandered a terrific defensive start and carried a 7-0 lead into the second quarter. Holgorsen said he felt the difference in the first two quarters was that field position started to turn in the Hurricanes' favor as the two defenses battled it out.
"The field position got out of hand," Holgorsen said. "After the first fumble I thought we protected the ball well and our punt team did a great job of pinning the down there so they had long fields. And then they didn't have long fields and they made some plays."
But Miami's defensive line was arguably the difference in the game as they accumulated four sacks and regularly stopped the Mountaineers' running game. Holgorsen admitted as much when he discussed the talented group.
"It's not surprising, (Miami) has (stopped the run) all year," Holgorsen noted. "They were big and physical up front and they played well. What can I say? We're all disappointed. There are a lot of tears in that locker room. Tyler (Orlosky) and 20 other seniors fought their tail off."