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Morgantown, West Virginia – Flashback to last season, December 31, 2020, the West Virginia Mountaineers were playing the Army Black Knights in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Mountaineers, down 21-10 in the 3rd quarter, turned to backup quarterback Austin Kendall to lead the comeback. Starter Jarret Doege was largely ineffective and the offense was stalled, so Neal Brown was forced to remove Doege and put in Kendall.

When Kendall entered the game, the West Virginia offense immediately turned around. Kendall led the Mountaineers on a 10 play, 80 yard touchdown drive that cut Army’s lead to 5 points. In the 4th quarter, West Virginia had a 8 play, 65 yard drive that ended in a 20 yard touchdown pass from Kendall to TJ Simmons that put the Mountaineers ahead to win the game, 24-21.

What became abundantly obvious to everyone watching the game is that West Virginia would not have won the game if Jarret Doege remained in the game.

“I think I put the bowl game behind me a long time ago,” Doege said recently. “I’m going to go into this game and prepare like I usually prepare. I’m going in with a great mindset to win this football game.”

Let’s hope that Doege is not going in with the same mindset that he’s had in the past. Last year’s Liberty Bowl was a complete and utter disaster for him, and perhaps Doege should do the opposite in terms of preparation for this one.

Although Doege has not made a decision about whether he’ll return to play for the Mountaineers next season, his decision could be made for him with another poor performance in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl. 

If Doege struggles and Neal Brown is forced to replace him with Garrett Greene or Will “Goose” Crowder in this game, it would be very difficult for Brown to justify bringing him back as his starter next season.

Doege has said that he doesn’t want his decision to a distraction to the team and will sit down with Coach Brown following the bowl game to discuss next year. If Doege plays well and West Virginia beats Minnesota, Neal Brown will likely welcome him back for next season. However, if he struggles and the Mountaineers lose, it’s going to be a very uncomfortable, difficult discussion between Neal Brown and Jarret Doege.

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