WVU football’s signal-caller could have a lot on his mind heading into the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
Jarret Doege, WVU’s fifth-year senior quaterback, could think about whether or not he’ll utilize his extra year of eligibility in 2022. Or, as a second-year starter, he could dwell on his play in the 2020 Liberty Bowl, which resulted in his benching at halftime.
Instead, he says he’s keeping his eyes on the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
“I didn’t really want to make this whole thing about me,” Doege said, “I want to make it about going and winning the bowl game.”
Still, those questions loom. Doege noticeably did not walk out during his team’s Senior Day. It is of note that he is not the only possible senior to waive his possible ovation from the Mountaineer faithful, and simultaneously, some of those that took their bows are able to come back for another run at WVU. In fact, Coach Neal Brown directly addressed that after his team’s victory over Texas in the home finale.
Shortly before the end of 2021, Doege says he still has not made up his mind, as he’d rather focus on finishing with a victory.
“I haven’t really gotten to the decision yet,” he said. “I’m just going to focus on the bowl game, see what happens after and talk to Coach Brown.”
From the outside looking in, the cloud of his Liberty Bowl performance might still be hovering over Doege. After his first full season as the starter, Doege was sidelined after throwing 15-for-25 with an interception and a touchdown.
Nearly a full year and 12 football games later, it is not even in his thought process, nor is it even a topic of discussion within the team.
“We wouldn’t discuss it at all. You’ve gotta learn by it and stay motivated, but you want to use things that are positive most of the time to motivate,” said offensive coordinator Gerad Parker “I think just the body of work in the last six games, and finishing four of our last six and winning these last two….I always equate it to basketball. It’s a whole lot easier to learn from making a shot than it is missing it, but there’s plenty to learn from misses too.”
Doege knows this well. He points to his performances against TCU over the years — in his first start against the Horned Frogs, he threw three interceptions while leading the Mountaineers to a narrow win on the road. In the two games since, he’s stayed interception-free while tossing for 469 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“I just try to make it a different outcome and prepare harder,” he said. “Go into the game not thinking about last year’s game but thinking about what my job is and what I need to do to win the football game.”