West Virginia wins, now waits and watches

December, 4, 2010
12/04/10
3:24
PM ET
West Virginia has done all it can do. Now it must wait until Saturday night and hope South Florida can provide the assist.

A big second half charge helped the No. 24 Mountaineers to a 35-14 win over Rutgers. They clinched a share of the Big East title, and they will go to a BCS game if Connecticut loses to the Bulls in Tampa. If not, it's off to the Champs Sports Bowl.

West Virginia reminded us all why it needs help with its poor ballhandling against the Scarlet Knights. It lost three fumbles inside the Rutgers 15 and very nearly coughed up two more. Turnovers led to defeats against both Syracuse and Connecticut and cost at least a better shot at beating LSU.

But the Mountaineers are good enough to overcome those mistakes, especially against a bad team like Rutgers, which ended the year on a six-game losing streak. West Virginia had 524 yards to 202 by Rutgers, and the Scarlet Knights only put together one real scoring drive before tacking on a garbage touchdown late against the second-string defense.

Geno Smith was terrific, completing 23 of 28 passes for 354 yards and a touchdown. Tavon Austin had six catches for 121 yards and a score and also had a 46-yard touchdown run. The Mountaineers continue to move the ball well without getting much from the still-injured Noel Devine. They tried to get him a touchdown late in his final home game, but Devine fumbled.

Ryan Clarke, despite an early goal-line fumble, has three touchdowns despite rushing just seven times for 11 yards.

Rutgers gave up six more sacks, giving them an insanely high 61 for the season. That's the most recorded by an FBS team in the last five years. Head coach Greg Schiano has a lot of evaluating to do now that this season is mercifully over.

West Virginia just has some watching and rooting left to do. The Mountaineers showed Saturday why they'd be a tough opponent for anyone in a BCS game, but they have only themselves to blame for not controlling their own path to one.

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