Tag Archives: WVU Football

10 Things That Will Go Down Tomorrow: UConn

Who's faster?

Who's faster?

Well, it’s back to the land of optimism for Mountaineer fans everywhere. We beat a good decent Auburn team, and we looked like the offensive juggernaut of old. All is well. Right? Right? Turns out, no one knows for sure, but with the rest of the conference seemingly unable to win a game, we should be fine. Just, you know, take care of business against a UConn team that is supposedly one of the better teams in the Big East. So why aren’t I excited, or even remotely concerned? Because this isn’t basketball. Without Jim Calhoun, I can’t believe the Huskies stand a chance. So tomorrow afternoon, while you nurse your hangover and wonder how that greasepaint got all over your thighs, I predict these things will occur:

  1. We run #5, repeatedly.
  2. The D doesn’t give up a touchdown. Bold, I know, but I feel like this defense is beginning to gel.
  3. Calhoun doesn’t look half as drunk as Huggins did in his sideline interview.
  4. Dorrell Jalloh runs wild in the secondary.
  5. Jeff Mullen makes a couple of interesting, but successful, play calls.
  6. JB gets back in the game on some “wildcat” type sets.
  7. Nate Sowers comes up with a big play for the Defense.
  8. Bubble screen. Works. Huh.
  9. We stay injury free. Knock on wood.
  10. Mountaineers cruise, but Stew gives the TV camera more than one of his ‘daggummit’ faces.

WVU: 27   UConn: 12

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Tommy Bowden’s coming to Morgantown.

Okay, okay, it’s not exactly what the headline makes it sound like. He’s not coming to coach. He’s just coming to partake in game day in Morgantown just like all the rest of us.

Clemson beat writer Paul Strelow mentioned it on his blog while inquiring about the Bowden family rivalry:

Next week’s game at Florida State would have marked the 10th Bowden Bowl. Asked him if that whole week will be awkward. He said his son and daughter will be going to the game, but he says he’s going to finally attend a game at his alma mater, West Virginia, and do some tailgating.

Hey, sounds like fun to me! I anticipate to see this in the light blue lot before next Saturday’s tilt with the ‘Nati:

Don't look so bummed Tommy, it's Gameday in Morgantown!

Don't look so bummed Tommy. It's game day in Morgantown!

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A look at how they look at us.

So…. the team was on national TV last Thursday. Big win, you remember it, right? We might have griped about how our two early season losses took us out of the national spotlight but last week all eyes were on us. Team lived up to the hype too. How’d the rest of us do? Well, when I loaded my favorite sports blog Monday morning, this was what I saw:

Actually, the post is kind of funny and the behavior in the video is nothing out of the blue or too big of a deal.

Then I read a Sporting News blog that rambled through the usual redneck stereotypes. It didn’t bother me that much, honestly, until it said:

The people of Virginia Tech seem like foreign dignitaries compared to the crowd in Morgantown.

Okay. Now I’m mad. But not nearly as mad as the comment war that ensued under that post, but mad. I agreed with one commenter who thought we should “embrace it”. I love Mountaineer Field. I love Mountaineer fans. I love the polite ones and I love the rude ones. I’ve definitely been both embarrassed and embarrassing at Mountaineer Field. I think, at the end of the day, it just comes with the territory. It’s college football, and the passion is beautiful. People express it however they choose and no one speaks for everyone. It is what it is, and I wouldn’t change a damn thing about it.

That said, we get another go ’round with a night game in two weeks. The Cincy game has been moved to ESPNU and kick set at 7pm. Should be an equally raucous atmosphere.

And while all of us were worrying about what we looked like on TV, former running back Ed Collington was busy robbing people in Sunnyside. Economic downturn and all.

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Auburn Recap

Now this is what I like to see....

Now this is what I like to see....

FINALLY. I believe that’s the word on everyone’s mind the day after. The Offense looked like it’s supposed to look, the Defense came to play and there was little-to-no bumbling by the coaching staff. Great night to be in Morgantown.

Now, we do have to face the fact that this Auburn team is by no means the cream of the SEC. BUT, they are a formidable opponent and their defense is as good as any that we’re going to see in conference play. I thought the offensive play calls were good, and the execution was even better. There was more diversity last night then we’ve seen all season. If we look at the ‘Eers four touchdowns, each of them is unique in it’s own way:

  • Alric Arnett’s second quarter touchdown grab came from 44 yards out. Most touchdown passes we score from 40+ yards away are short passes and long runs. Not this one. Good ole #5 just uncorked one, went up top and hit his man in stride. Great play.
  • Dorrell Jalloh’s third quarter score, from two yards out (that’s right, we’re passing it in from 6 feet away) was a well designed pass play that was executed to perfection. Jollah’s man got confused as he cut through traffic and he was left wide open for the score.
  • Jalloh’s second TD, coming in the fourth quarter, was the opposite. White hit him on a short route and he then used his athleticism to break the play wide open. Sure. you could argue poor tackling on Auburn’s part, but not a lot of guys are going to make that play.
  • Finally, to ice the game, our only rushing TD came from 30 yards out by Noel Devine. What I wanted to see, and got to see, was more second level blocking from the o-line. That, coupled with our ability to pass the ball successfully, gave Noel plenty of room to run and he took care of business to the tune of 200+ yards. Great day for the run game AND we didn’t have to run White into the ground.

All in all, it was a complete victory. The fact that we unleashed 31 unanswered points is lost on no one, but let’s make sure to give the D big props, as well. The win was helped along by the absolutley raucous Night Game in Morgantown atmosphere. It was a lot of fun, and I’ve got to say, for the first time since the ECU game, I don’t feel alone in thinking that this team can still have a successful season.

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10 Things That Will Go Down Tomorrow: Auburn

Bo don't know bubble screens.

Bo don't know bubble screens.

So, it’s been awhile. My apologies. I understand that an entire week without a post, in blog years, is like a decade. It will never happen again. Scout’s honor. The long lay-off following the lackluster homecoming game made for some surly folks up here in Morgantown. There’s been plenty of back and forth about the booing. The Mountaineer Maniacs are even trying to do something about it, for some unknown reason. Obviously the key to not getting booed has less to do with reporting the culprits and more to do with not looking like a middle school team on the field. I digress, however, and it’s time for another rose-tinted look at what will go down under the lights tomorrow night at Mountaineer Field:

  1. The return of Pat White. “Return” meaning not just onto the field, but back to his rightful spot in Mountaineer lore. I doubt it will be for statistical feats, since the offense just isn’t clicking right now. I’m envisioning a clutch play, probably the game-winner.
  2. More second level blocking by the O-Line. They don’t have to spring another 92-yarder, but I’m looking to see them pick off a couple of linebackers for decent runs.
  3. JB back in his wildcard role. This time, he throws one to #5.
  4. Lou Holtz lisps for three whole hours on the telecast. Mentions Hitler twice and DickRod only once.
  5. Auburns D stifles us for a very sizable portion of the game…
  6. …but a couple of big plays are all we need, and all we get.
  7. I manage to find a way into the stadium after getting the shaft from the University’s Rube Goldberg-esque student ticket distribution system.
  8. Big hits by JT Thomas and the linebacking corps and even a little pass coverage to boot.
  9. Big Mac makes a Big Kick and begins to redeem his reputation with those who don’t know any better.
  10. The season finally turns around.

WVU: 17     Auburn:  16

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Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Eyes on the prize.

Eyes on the prize.

The Charleston Daily Mail is reporting that WVU is signing a home-and-home contract with the defending champion LSU Tigers for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.  Looks like the schedule isn’t getting any easier.

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Syracuse Recap

Only one play worth talking about.  This one.

Only one play worth talking about. This one.

Phew.

It was ugly.  Offense was ugly.  Defense was ugly.  Crowd got ugly.  This was not the good natured homecoming romp it was supposed to be.  I know few expect exact predictions from the 10 Things… posts, and I’m usually really really wrong, but no one saw yesterday’s game coming.  Lowest number of points put up by the ‘Eers since Syracuse in 2005.  That game, of course, was the first game of the Pat White/Adam Bednarik experiment that only lasted half of the season.  Either way, you can consider it the starting point of this era of Mountaineer football, and one we don’t want to return to.

The offense was sluggish, though Devine looked good even before his game-breaker.  He needs the ball more.  The short passing game netted nothing on the field and got booed mercilessly in the stands. I’m beginning to think that the Mountaineers don’t actually have any downfield pass plays in the playbook.  Not having White running the show was a blow, of course, but JB is a perfectly good quarterback who should be able to come in without missing a beat.  Rarely was he put in position to make a play, and when he was, he didn’t.

The D also took a step back for the first time this season.  The seemed to concede all the mid-range passing routes, one Syracuse QB Cam Dantley took full advantage of.  It was nice seeing Nate Sowers make a big pick in the secondary, but that was really the only defensive bright spot for me.  The unit seemed to simply be holding the status quo against an offense they should have out-muscled and out-matched.  The time of possession mismatch was primarily due to offensive ineptitude, but giving up over 300 yards of offense to the Orange rests entirely on the shoulders of our defense.

All in all, I’m still cautiously optimistic.  We can still win the Big East.  Pat White has all the time he needs to get ready for Auburn and with #5, anything is still possible.

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10 Things That Will Go Down Tomorrow: Syracuse

Welcome home.  This is a little bigger than Pony Lewis Field, isn't it?

Welcome home. This is a little bigger than Pony Lewis Field, isn't it?

It’s homecoming weekend in Morgantown, so you know what that means, right? Don’t go downtown this evening. There’s a parade and the traffic will be awful. Oh, right, and we play Syracuse tomorrow. I was wondering in that “if a tree falls in the woods” sort of way: who does Syracuse play for homecoming? Does Oneida have a team? Just wondering. I’ve looked into the Magic 8 Ball and I’ve decided that the following will go down at stadium tomorrow:

  1. Pat White finishes the game. Bold prediction, I know.
  2. Syracuse keeps it closer than we would like throughout the first half infuriating fans.
  3. Racist West Virginians take out their displeasure at The Express by hurling epithets at the opposing bench. Wait, I’m pretty sure that usually happens.
  4. Noel Devine slices and dices, and embarrasses a couple of members of Orange D.
  5. Morgantown native and Syracuse kicker Patrick Shadle is both cheered and jeered. The closer the game, the less the hometown crowd likes him.
  6. Morty Ivy spends quite awhile in the Orange’s backfield.
  7. Chris Gunnoe, of U92 Sports, does a kick-ass job sideline reporting for ESPN-U. Unfortunately no one in Morgantown gets ESPN-U, so we’ll have to take his word for it.
  8. Bill Stewart uses the word “dagummit” in his halftime remarks.
  9. Prior to kickoff, hilarity ensues in the light blue lot. I can’t tell you what, but my sources point to it involving cold beer, deep fried turkey legs and a viking helmet.
  10. The ‘Eers lay a beating on the Orange and give them a little more confidence for their big Oct. 23rd showdown with the Auburn Tigers. The Tigers fired their Offensive Coordinator this week. That game is looking more and more winnable. C’mon people, who’s with me?

WVU: 35 Syracuse: 10

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This and that.

Looks like he remembered which way to run.

Looks like he remembered which way to run.

So, some random notes from around Mountaineer-dom this week:

  • Despite leaving the game early against both Rutgers and Marshall, #5 expects to play this week’s tilt with the Orange. However, he was held out of practice on Tuesday and reporters were instructed not to ask him about the Rutgers game because he doesn’t remember it. That seemed a little troubling to me.
  • Looks like Anthony Leonard will start this week in the place of newly redshirted Reed Williams.
  • This Friday, The Express, the story of Ernie Davis the first African-American to win the Heisman trophy will open all across the country. As the movie follows the 1959 Orangemen throughout their season guess where Mr. Davis meets the most racial intolerance? You got it. Morgantown, West Virginia. Problem is, the ‘Eers and Orange DIDN’T play in Morgantown that year. Way to go Hollywood. After making West Virginians look pretty damned decent in We Are Marshall you’ve gone back to your redneck stereotypes. Former Mountaineers, Orangemen, and Micky Furfari are not happy about it. Ironically enough Ben Schwartzwalder, the Syracuse head coach who dared to play his African American star, was a West Virginian.
  • Finally, you aren’t the only one with concerns about the Offense. Looks like Tajh Boyd, despite committing to WVU, appears to be looking elsewhere as well. He’s taking official visits to Tennessee, Oregon and Boston College. Gulp. This is the kid who was supposed to run the team after J.B. graduates, if he can’t do it you’re gonna have too.

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Rutgers Recap

Look mom!  A tight end!  AND he's got the football!

Look mom! A tight end! AND he's got the football!

The State University of New Jersey came to Morgantown this weekend and left with a loss, just as we had thought. Now there were some of us, myself included, who thought the final score would be significantly more lopsided. There are also some of us, myself included again, who will take it.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. Despite the lack of a lopsided score sheet, the ‘Eers pretty much dominated the day. JB looked good again as the wild card (cue Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philiadelphia: “wild card!”) but also ended up finishing the day under center. That’s because, of course, Pat White couldn’t finish the game again this week. Now, I’m hoping this is because the coaching staff is handling #5 with caution so we’ll have him down the stretch. The problem is, it also could be that a regular human being is not meant to take the beating that White has taken during his career in Morgantown. Despite not being a pretty win, and it really wasn’t pretty, I still think the ‘Eers are capable of running the table in conference and moving on to the BCS. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in Morgantown who thinks that, but I do.

Reed Williams will redshirt which sucks, but isn’t that big of a deal because the defense is easily our most effective unit right now. (I can’t believe I just typed that). We also threw the ball to a Tight End for the first time in 3 seasons when White found Tyler Urban for a first quarter score. For those of you who don’t believe me, there’s photographic evidence at the top of this post.

All told, the most exciting part of Saturday afternoon was in the student section, where anyone wearing red was fair game. I witnessed one Rutgers fan walking up the aisle being mercilessly heckled with chants of “asshole”. This is behavior that I condone. Unfortunately, this Scarlet Knight decided that the best course of action was to throw a punch at the nearest Mountaineer fan. This is not behavior I condone. The entire section responded in kind, beating on this kid before security hauled him out of the upper deck with a bloodied face. I will make this clear for anyone who might have thought differently: the student section at Mountaineer Field is no place for children, the elderly or opposing fans. Seriously.

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