Daniels, defense lead West Virginia past Virginia Tech 33-10

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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BLACKSBURG, Va. – JT Daniels threw for 203 yards and a touchdown to lead West Virginia to a 33-10 win over Virginia Tech on Thursday night.

Freshman CJ Donaldson rushed for 106 yards and West Virginia (2-2) got a strong performance from its defense to win its second straight game after losing the first two.

“That was a great win,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “I felt great about our preparation coming in, and this is one of the toughest venues to come in and play. I felt really good. This is something that we’ve been thinking about for a long time once we found out this was going to be a Thursday night game. I thought we played fast. We were really physical.”

The Mountaineers, who beat Virginia Tech for the second consecutive season, scored on five straight possessions spanning the first and second half. Daniels’ 24-yard touchdown pass to Sam James with 11 seconds left in the first half gave the Mountaineers a 13-7 lead, and they never trailed again.

“It was big,” Brown said of the score. “I felt like we were in control of the game, but the scoreboard didn’t say that. I thought, really from that drive on, we were in control.”

The Hokies (2-2) closed within 16-10 on a field goal by Will Ross with 4:19 left in the third quarter. West Virginia answered, scoring on a 6-yard run by Justin Johnson Jr. with 14:13 left in the game. The Hokies had West Virginia stopped twice on the drive, but personal foul penalties on Norell Pollard and Dax Hollifield kept the drive alive.

Penalties hindered the Hokies all night. They committed 15 for 132 yards.

“I think we press and we get out of sorts,” said Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry, whose team committed 15 penalties at Old Dominion in its other loss this season. “We feel like we have to do things above and beyond. We’ve got to stay in the framework and play with fundamentals and technique to be mindful of what we’re doing.

“Sometimes, I look out there. and it’s like a panic. We’re not playing together, we’re not playing as one, and we’ve got to coach them through that. We’ve got to fix that. That’s the second time in a tight situation that we didn’t respond. We’ve got to improve there.”

TAKEAWAYS

West Virginia: The Mountaineers picked up a nice win for Brown, who moved to 19-20 in his fourth year at West Virginia. They played solidly in all three phases, but especially on defense. A unit that gave up 73 points in losses to Pittsburgh and Kansas held the Hokies to just 228 yards and also scored on an interception return.

“That’s how we play defense here,” Brown said. “We had an aberration a couple of weeks ago against Kansas – credit to them. But that’s not how we’re going to play defense around here. I thought tonight was closer.”

Virginia Tech: The Hokies weren’t good in any phase of the game and now haven’t beaten a nonconference Power 5 team at Lane Stadium since 2009. The loss marked their worst ever over the Mountaineers at Lane Stadium.

BIG DAY FOR WVU BACKS

Donaldson’s performance marked his third 100-yard effort in four games. The 240-pound back came to West Virginia as a tight end, but the staff moved him to tailback. Behind Donaldson and Johnson Jr., who rushed for 83 yards, West Virginia amassed 218 yards on the ground and moved to 15-2 under Brown when rushing for at least 100 yards.

“I always do,” Daniels said when asked if he expected the Mountaineers to have success rushing. “I think we’re very physical. We have been since I’ve been here, just the way this team works, especially up front led by (Zach) Frazier. With a whole host of great running backs, I expect to run like that every time.”

RIVALRY ON HIATUS

Thursday’s night’s game marked the final game scheduled between Virginia Tech and West Virginia – two universities only four hours apart. The Mountaineers want to play on a more regular basis, but Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock has filled the Hokies’ future nonconference schedule with struggling Power 5 programs such as Vanderbilt, Rutgers, Arizona, and Maryland in addition to long series with in-state foes Old Dominion and Liberty. Virginia Tech’s nonconference schedule is filled until the 2031 season.

UP NEXT

West Virginia: The Mountaineers play at Texas on Oct. 1.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at North Carolina on Oct. 1.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”