MORGANTOWN — The West Virginia University football team’s season has been a tale of two quarterbacks, with Oklahoma graduate transfer Austin Kendall and Bowling Green transfer Jarret Deoge each starting games.
Kendall was the WVU quarterback nine games, but with West Virginia’s season slipping away, first-year coach Neal Brown put Doege in for the fourth quarter against Texas Tech and he has remained the quarterback in the two games since.
Both Kendall and Doege are due back with the Mountaineers for the 2020 season, and although Doege has played well since taking over as WVU’s starter, Brown is not ready to make any plans for his quarterback position beyond Friday’s season finale at TCU (4:15 p.m. on ESPN).
“I haven’t made any decision long term on quarterbacks, but I do think Jarret has played well,” Brown said.
Doege, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns in WVU’s upset win at Kansas State — his first game as the starter for West Virginia — most recently went 28 of 38 for 307 yards with one touchdown in the Mountaineers’ loss to visiting Oklahoma State. The Lubbock, Texas, native has not thrown an interception in nine quarters.
“He’s managed the game well,” Brown said of Doege. “He has been really efficient as a passer. (I) thought he played well under duress Saturday.”
Kendall came to WVU in January after backing up Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray last season at Oklahoma. The North Carolina native battled Jack Allison and Trey Lowe for the starting job through spring camp and was not named the starter until late August. In nine games, Kendall completed 187 of 304 pass attempts for 1,989 yards with 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
“Austin’s been disappointed, but he’s handled it fine,” Brown said.
AWAITING CLARIFICATION: A pair of calls on consecutive plays did not go West Virginia’s way in the second quarter of Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State.
Redshirt freshman receiver Sam James was ruled down before crossing the goal line despite a video review appearing to show otherwise, and on the following play Doege’s quarterback sneak attempt was ruled short of the end zone.
Following Saturday’s game, Brown said he would seek clarification from Big 12 director of officials Greg Burks, and as of Monday the WVU coach had not heard back from the league.
“Sam has a touchdown,” Brown said. “And on the first quarterback sneak, Jarret is pulled out of the pile with the ball across the goal line. That’s the way I saw it. Now, I haven’t gotten any explanation from the league on that, and I’m sure they have a good one.”
Brown mentioned several times his problem was not with the officiating crew, but he did question replay’s role in not being able to confirm what looked like touchdowns on the back-to-back plays.
“To me, it’s a glass plane,” Brown said. “If the ball breaks the plane, it’s a touchdown,” Brown said. “I don’t have any issue with the crew. I just don’t know what replay’s role is. That’s the question for me. I thought both of those plays, replay clearly showed a touchdown.
“I don’t have an issue with the crew. The game’s really hard to officiate. Cooper Castleberry was the ref, and he does a good job managing the game and communicating. But I don’t know with replay how that factors in.”
FOCUS ON FOOTBALL: There are no classes at WVU this week because of Thanksgiving, which means West Virginia’s football players get to take break from classes and focus on football ahead of Friday’s finale.
West Virginia has been eliminated from bowl contention, which means the Mountaineers won’t get any extra practice time in December after the regular season ends this weekend. Brown said he hopes to use this week as a way to help get a head start on the 2020 Mountaineers while also giving the senior class a proper sendoff.
“This is one of my favorite weeks of the year,” Brown said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to spend this last week together as a 2019 team. We’ll do a lot of team activities.
“We’ll be intentional about enjoying this. We want to finish this on a positive note and send out our seniors feeling good about what they’ve done. I appreciate that group. This is great opportunity for us to have a building block moving into our offseason program, which is important.”