Holgerson, Mountaineers look to make history on Saturday

West Virginia senior quarterback Clint Trickett pulls back to throw a pass on Oct. 26, 2013 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (File Photo by Emily DeShazer | The Collegian)

West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson has done many things over the course of his time in Morgantown, Virginia. He has taken the Mountaineers to a major bowl game and will soon take the program to its fourth bowl game under his tenure. There is one thing, however, that the man, known to some as “Holgo,” has never done:

Beat K-State and head coach Bill Snyder.

“This K-State week has always been a very fun and challenging week for me,” Holgerson said to WVU Sports. “Just knowing as much as I know about (K-State) coach Snyder has always been very challenging, but I have always admired his work and how he ran his program.”

Holgerson is a native of the state of Iowa and said he has followed Snyder’s career from his days as an assistant at the University of Iowa.

“I grew up watching the University of Iowa,” Holgerson said. “He was at the University of Iowa and then transferred over to K-State, and I watched him build that program from the ground up.”

This season, Holgerson and Snyder have had somewhat similar paths — both teams endured losing streaks but now have gotten back on course with winning streaks.

West Virginia’s offense currently sits at sixth, with the offense averaging 34.2 points per game, led by quarterback Skyler Howard and running back Rushel Shell.

During the 2015 season, Howard has thrown for 2,332 yards and has 20 touchdowns. In last year’s game against the Wildcats, Howard came in for injured quarterback Clint Trickett and helped lead the offense. Even in a loss, the performance was good enough for the WVU coaching staff to make Howard the starter for the remainder of the season.

“I feel like trust is the No. 1 thing when you put a quarterback in the game,” Howard said to WVU Sports. “You have to be able to trust him with the ball because he touches the ball every play. If I didn’t know what to do in those types of situations, then I wouldn’t have been in the game. I was just doing my job.”

On defense, the Mountaineers have rebounded from their midseason loss of star linebacker Karl Joseph, who is out with a knee injury.

During the current the WVU winning streak, the defense has allowed an average of only 13 points per contest. With K-State looking to run on the ground, the WVU rush defense will look to repeat its performance from a year ago when they held the Wildcats to only one yard rushing.

“Their backs are patient and run well,” senior cornerback Terrell Chestnut said to WVU Sports. “Their fullback is aggressive and opens up holes, and their line is always aggressive. It’ll be a nice challenge for us.”