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.