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Extreme Bear Hunting, Hilltopper Style

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I was originally going to include this in the footnotes of the Michigan article, but decided that it was too painful and unique to be merely an endnote to another story.

West Virginia Tech is not a large school. They have a total enrollment of less than 2,300 students, and they aren't even really they're own boss – they're actually a regional campus of West Virginia University. This doesn't stop them from having their very own athletics department, complete with their very own football team, all at the NAIA level. Those of you scratching your heads might be more recognizing of Tiffin University as an NAIA school. [Editor's Note: Shucks. You know exactly how to talk to a Northwest Ohioan.]

The Golden Bears aren't exactly the cream of the NAIA crop, having finished last season 0-11, and returning a team this year that looks a lot like last year's. Unfortunately, every team has to have a schedule, and within that schedule, everybody has to play somebody to fill up their schedule.

This weekend, WV Tech traveled to Division-I Independent Western Kentucky to see if they could staunch the bleeding of their 12 game losing streak. Western Kentucky was soundly embarrassed by the University of Florida last weekend, 49-3, and wanted a little revenge. For a Tech team that finished last season 0-11, you can guess how that might have gone. Well, you can imagine a Western Kentucky win, but you wouldn't imagine a final score of 87-0.

Western Kentucky got the ball first and started at Tech's 39-yard line after a rather meek kickoff, and drove right in for their first touchdown. Tech then had a pass intercepted on their first offensive drive to set up another short touchdown march for the Hilltoppers. The Bears managed two more offensive plays before QB James Thorne was sacked and the fumble was returned for a touchdown.

WV Tech then went three and out and had the punt returned for a touchdown, followed by RB Arsenio Hill fumbling on the very next play from scrimmage, resulting in another Western Kentucky touchdown. The Bears then managed their first first down of the game, wound up having to punt, and kept WKU at bay for the moment – at their own 31 yard line. The Hilltoppers, however, drove those 70 yards like the Autobahn, scored again, and then recovered another WV Tech fumble on the ensuing kickoff for yet another touchdown.

Before you could even finish your salted pretzel, Western Kentucky had outgained Tech 126 yards to minus four, and outscored them 49-0. And there were still three and a half minutes left in the first quarter!

Fortunately for the Bears, Western Kentucky decided this would be a good time to ease off the throttle, putting up a mere 39 points over the remaining three quarters. I could mention the fact that for the game, Western Kentucky outgained WV Tech 431-15 in total yards, but here's a better way of summarizing the game: Western Kentucky returned the opening kickoff for 16 yards, and then did not receive another kickoff the rest of the game (although they did field 11 punts).

I can't help but feel bad for the guys who play for Tech. They already suffered an overtime loss to Urbana College last week in what was one of their few winnable games this season, and then they get humiliated like this. Now they have to slog through the rest of this season, which isn't going to get significantly easier.

Perhaps after the way last season went, and the way this season has begun, the school should seriously begin to consider packing up their pads and heading back to the classroom, letting the football program fold itself into oblivion.

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About Geeves the Butler

  • I’ve been to West Virginia. There’s nothing Tech about it.

  • nicolas

    editors note? i didnt even know where tiffin was, it was just the NAIA name i recognized first.

    and WVTU is sort of a branch campus, so this is probably just a football team of all the guys academically ineligible for WVU

  • John

    The football team has always been a disgrace. Many of us want the football program to go away, but the administration is too stubborn to listen to its students.

  • Benjamin Cossel

    Well, as bad as it was for Tech, I have to imagine the Hilltoppers felt a little better about themselves after that Florida drubbing.

  • Jane

    Tech was 1-10 last year, and in the midst of a three game losing streak (they won their second to last game last season). And while they are a regional campus of WVU, the athletic program is not a bunch of academically ineligible WVU students (the NAIA actually has tougher eligibility regulations), it is an independent athletic department.

    Sure, Tech went to WKU and lost by one of the most lopsided scores in recent memory. But they played the game for the same reason WKU went to Florida – a game guarantee, which in the case of Tech (I can’t speak for Western), goes back into the budget to help defray costs of the athletic program.

    Just a little FYI…

  • From a 1981 Tech Grad here. The football program has almost always been bad at Tech. When Neil Baisi was the AD, it was due to the preferential treatment the basketball program received. Probably has remained the same since his retirement. The top high school teams in the country could most likely be competitive with them. Without proper funding, no program can compete.

  • Jane

    In 1989, Tech went 7-3-1 and won the West Virginia Conference Championship. The following year, under a new coach, the team went 3-7 (though 3 of those losses were by a combined 14 points). In 1991, under yet another new head coach, the team went winless.

    In order to succeed, any program at the collegiate level needs two things – stability and resources. Unfortunately for Tech, they have provided neither over the past twenty years for their athletic programs.

  • Can we get an NBC “The More You Know” banner flyin’ around here? This is, like WV Tech football knowledge central, figuratively speaking.

  • nicolas

    i have to disagree jane, if only for the reason that WV Techs own website says they went 0-11 last season.

    Schools at he NAIA level don’t have particularly stringent standards for students in general, and the standards for atheletes (especially football players) are almost always lower. I refuse to beieve the bar is higher at WVTU than it is at WVU.

  • nicolas

    FYI, I looked it up.

    NCAA standards: 2.0+ GPA and 101+ SAT OR 2.5+GPA and 820+ SAT or GPA 3.55+ and 400+ SAT

    NAIA: 2.0+ GPA OR 860+ GPA or be in the top half of your HS class.

    sounds less strict to me.

  • Jane

    I was referring to continuing eligibility, not what’s used for first year freshmen. Working in and around compliance for several years, I have found it harder to stay eligible at times at an NAIA school than an NCAA school.

    As for first year freshmen, the NCAA allows you to combine section scores from different tests. The NAIA requires your combined score from one test. Seems like an athlete could take the SAT twice, focusing on only one part to become eligible for the NCAA, but not for the NAIA.

    Finally, Tech’s website says nothing about their record in 2006. It lists their 2005 record (a dismal 0-11) but nothing about 2006.