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West Virginia Vs. North Carolina State: Turnovers Plague Mountaineers In Champs Sports Bowl Loss

You can't turn the ball over five times and beat the South Middle School Stallions.

You can't turn the ball over five times and beat the Morgantown High Mohigans.

You can't turn the ball over five times and beat the West Virginia Mountaineers.

And you sure can't turn the ball over five times and beat the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

Tonight's loss in the Champs Sports Bowl is a perfect encapsulation of this year's West Virginia Mountaineers.  West Virginia had the talent to overwhelm the Wolfpack, but handed the ball back to them time and time again to make sure that Champs Sports Bowl trophy would never come to Morgantown.

A botched handoff.  A diving interception.  A fumble on the sidelines.  A muffed kick punt return.

Each one a nail in the coffin of the Mountaineers' fate.

Right now, Mountaineer Nation is blaming Coach Stewart for this loss.  "It's all his fault!" they'll shout. "The team quit on him!" they'll beckon.  I don't agree with them, but it's obvious there's something not right.  Geno Smith is throwing the ball five yards over his receivers' heads.  Simple football moves, like the snap, the handoff and the punt return, are turning into moments of disaster.  It's been that way all season, like the fumble-fest in Hartford, or the interception filled Homecoming game against Syracuse.

At each crucial turning point this season the Mountaineers have played well below their talent level.  It could be Stewart.  It could be the players.  It could be something else entirely, but it's over now.  No one knows what the future holds for Mountaineer football, but let's hope it doesn't look like this.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.