The Mountaineers (4-7, 2-6 Big 12) face Iowa State (2-9, 1-7) at 4 p.m. Saturday in the finale of disappointing seasons for both teams.
This is the second season in a row that West Virginia has faced an Iowa State team near the end of the season that was adjusting to a change in quarterbacks. Last year it was Richardson who had taken over and the Mountaineers handled him well enough to win. Richardson completed just 13 of 31 passes, and although he threw for three touchdowns and ran for 119 yards, the Mountaineers won the game 31-24.
Richardson never fulfilled his promise, though, and was eventually replaced by Rohach. And while Rohach struggled early, his confidence has been growing of late. He was 21-of-34 passing for 179 yards against Oklahoma a week ago, and even though the Cyclones lost 48-10, coach Paul Rhoads saw something.
"The Oklahoma game. He left the Oklahoma game feeling better about his play,'' Rhoads said. "On Tuesday, he was confident and relaxed on the field. He was a different guy. He played to his ability [against Kansas]."
Still, no matter the growing confidence or the win over Kansas, this has still been an agonizing season for Iowa State. The Cyclones began the season by losing to Northern Iowa and the team's only two wins are against Tulsa and Kansas, teams with 3-8 records. The highlights have mostly been close losses, including a controversial ending in a 31-30 defeat to Texas.
"Towards the end of the season, it's not a season that we were predicting,'' Rohach said. "But to get momentum in the later part of the season is really good."
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1