MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Here's the way things have shaken out for West Virginia's much-maligned cornerbacks as the season winds down:
And yet the bottom line has not changed at all. West Virginia is still dead last in the country in passing yards allowed and next-to-last in pass efficiency defense. In last week's 50-49 loss to Oklahoma, Landry Jones threw for 554 yards and six touchdowns. Even in a career he will soon finish ranked No. 3 all-time in the NCAA in passing yards and No. 2 in touchdowns, Jones had never had those kinds of numbers against anyone.
Don't expect the revolving door at cornerback to stop anytime soon, though. The fact of the matter is no one has played well enough to become entrenched. That's obvious.
"We don't have anyone that has stepped up and taken control of the position,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said. "This is a tough league to play corner in. None of the guys have stepped up and said, 'This is my position and I'm going to make enough plays to where I'm not going to be taken out of the game.' Whether that gets established here between now and January 1 or not, I don't know.''
That Jan. 1 date, of course, is still wishful thinking. If West Virginia doesn't stop what is now a five-game losing streak and get at least one more win, the season will end with the Dec. 1 home game against Kansas.
Before that comes Friday's game with Iowa State. The Mountaineers (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) and the Cyclones (6-5, 3-5) play at 3:30 p.m. that day at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. If WVU manages to win one of those games, it will play in a bowl, likely one the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.
Winning one of those two, however, might require some significant progress by the secondary. Iowa State ranks just No. 72 in the nation in passing and No. 85 in pass efficiency, while Kansas is even worse - No. 113 in passing and No. 120 (last) in passing efficiency.
But other subpar passing teams have gotten well by facing West Virginia, so the pressure is still on the secondary, especially the cornerbacks.
It's not a group that inspires much confidence, however. Senior Pat Miller and junior Brodrick Jenkins, the two veterans, have seen their playing time reduced dramatically of late, Jenkins after a knee injury and Miller because of performance. Sophomore Ismael Banks has started three games in a row now after being moved to safety in the spring and then back to corner during the season.
Redshirt freshman Terrell Chestnut started the Oklahoma game after not playing at all the first seven games. And the two true freshmen, Nana Kyeremeh and Ricky Rumph, rotate into the mix frequently.