Season wrap: West Virginia

After losing three of the best players in school history after the 2012 season, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen was still optimistic his Mountaineers would improve in their second season in the Big 12. Turned out, the offense logically struggled to replace the production of quarterback Geno Smith and receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. And even with an improved defense, the Mountaineers staggered to a discouraging 4-8 finish and the program’s first season without a bowl appearance since 2001.

Below is a review of West Virginia’s disappointing 2013 season:

Offensive MVP: Running back Charles Sims transferred from Houston and carried a West Virginia offense that struggled to throw the ball. He was third in the Big 12 with 1,095 yards and 11 touchdowns. Sims also caught 45 passes. The Mountaineers will miss him next season.

Defensive MVP: Even though the Mountaineers' record was worse, their defense was actually better than last season. Senior safety Darwin Cook was a major reason. Cook was second on the team with 74 tackles and first with four interceptions. He was also the enforcer of the secondary and one of four Mountaineers to receive All-Big 12 recognition.

Best moment: The Mountaineers went into their game against Oklahoma State as three-touchdown underdogs. But after Ishmael Banks returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown, West Virginia controlled the game the rest of the way. It held on for a stunning 30-21 victory, which proved to be the upset of the year in the Big 12.

Worst moment: After being eliminated from making a bowl, it appeared West Virginia would at least end the season with a comfortable home victory over Iowa State. Instead, the Cyclones rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit and toppled the Mountaineers in triple overtime, 52-44. To add insult to injury, the collapse was watched by the third-smallest crowd in Milan Puskar Stadium's 33-year history.