MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia’s quarterbacks combined to throw only 27 passes Saturday, which is fewer than Geno Smith threw four times last season … in a half.

The temporary grounding of West Virginia’s Air Raid attack was designed partly to deflect pressure from WVU’s unsettled quarterbacks, partly to utilize the new subsidy of running backs, and partly because William & Mary frequently dropped eight defenders into coverage.

“We’ve got to run the ball when they’re playing off like that,” said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson after West Virginia turned in an SEC-like run-pass ratio of 44-27. “We weren’t going to sit there and throw the ball 70 times when they had an eight-man coverage every time.

“They were really taking the top off the coverage, playing sort of an umbrella coverage.”

In the case of Charles Sims piling up 120 yards on 23 carries, the plan worked—though West Virginia averaged only 3.9 yards per rush as a team.

“We ran the ball probably more than at any time in the history of my coaching career,” said Holgorsen, who added that “it’s disappointing we didn’t get loose” for more long runs.

After a sluggish output of 165 first-half yards, West Virginia responded with 244 in the second half.

“Going in down at halftime there were a lot of question marks,” Dawson said. “But I think our guys showed some resilience.

“Obviously our game plan was pretty simple today—and it was for a reason. We had a lot of guys we were breaking in and we wanted to see how they would respond.”

Asked if this was a one-game anomaly or a full philosophical shift toward power football, Holgorsen let Paul Millard’s 19-of-25 passing day deliver the answer: “Hey, we still had a quarterback compete almost 80 percent of his passes.”

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  • Ridgerunner

    Its easy to pick out the haters isn't it?

  • Logan

    wvu got down and they knew that so they had to come back. they didn't want to show all their cards for Oklahoma so they limited some of the things. Dana drinks red bill he's crazy but not stupid. wvu is going to put up a fight against Oklahoma. just wait

  • Steve

    It's a new team. Got a lot of big shoes to replace. Lets see how next game goes. Holgs didn't show everything we need pay back on Oklahoma. Even though Oklahoma banged it out after the half they struggled first have. Secondary defense needs work. Special teams be good

    • Magic Mike

      The team has been on the decline since Holgorsen took over. Time for him to go.

  • graybeard

    the talking heads at Fox & ESPN say Holgerson's teams are not properly prepared. ;

    • pf88

      Brand new team, defense does swarm finally, and we aren't showing anything yet. Millard (they even called him "Miller" at one point) showed leadership. No hesitation on betting this team will surprise.

      Class? We could have kicked a field goal at the end and didn't. Urban went for two, two point conversions...??? --classless...

  • Steve

    Going to get romped in Norman without a doubt. Very tough place to play even with an experienced team. I agree that 4 or 5 wins at best this year. How long with that go on, remains to be seen.

  • LRM

    I am a long distance fan of WVU football way out here in Utah, all I can say is a win is a win, they don't count style points.

    • Steve

      Good thing they don't or we would have been in the hole.

  • Ray

    It seemed to me that Dana is like a poker player and he doesn't want to show his hand.

    • WPark

      You're spot on and Holgs said as much in post-game conference.

      • bva24

        You all have WAY too much confidence in that clown.


    So strange that BARELY beating a LOUSY 1AA team is reason to say a win is a win, but 7 point wins against good teams a few years ago was viewed as a loss. Holgorsen is destroying this once good program.

    • DC

      Funny how DH has the same amount of wins as the previous coach up to this time.

    • westfair518

      WVUDAD. how far back are you talking?

    • unclec

      They are not a bad team see where they are in nov

      • Bb

        This is going to be a smash your mouth football team this year eer fans!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You got to love it. The defense will get better. I think ole holgs was holding back the play calls in this game.

        • Lopey

          I agree, look out for a different team next week!!!!

    • WPark

      W&M lost to MD by one point last year. Has beaten couple major college teams recently. 5-6 victories this year expected for WVU, 8 victories and solid bowl berth next year is a solid expectation. Quit whining.

      • Magic Mike

        They were 2 and 9 last year.

    • Charles

      Those 7 point wins were with a roster with 17 returners. Big difference!!!! We didn't have a guy from last year touch a ball till 2nd quarter.

  • 1olewvufan

    I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I saw improvements:

    - This is the 1st year under Holgorsen, WVU actually has any simulance of a running game.
    - This is the 1st year under Holgorsen, WVU has an OL that can block
    - There were improvement on defense
    - The kicking game looked better than it had looked in 2-years, especially the Kick-offs and more especially the Punts

    Mallard played well at QB, but he will never be a high profile QB. Sims, Shorts, & Smallwood were all we heard they were. Alford was a just a move away from breaking a long one. Myer was who we heard he was. McCartney was the same ole McCartney, unless the QB puts the ball right in his hands he makes no attempt to catch it.

    It was no surprise when Pat Eger got the first penality.

    The defense played well in the 2nd half. However, it was aparent that Coach Mitchell still has a lot of work to do with the CBs.

    Go EERs!!!!!!!!

    • Martinsburg

      First off, the O line was absolutely atrocious. I don't know what you were watching.

      Second, it's millard not mallard... Same correction I have to make to people that spell holgorsen 'holgorson'

      Going to be a long season. 4 or 5 wins is the ceiling.

      • Magic Mike

        That many wins. I am sorry but this will be the first year WVU loses to Marshall. Luck and Holgorsen need to go.

        • Trigger

          That would be a disaster, especially since we don't even play them this year... I can see the headline now: "WVU is the only team in college football history to be so bad that they voluntarily gave their only win to their in-state rival, whom that didn't even play tha year, just so at least one team from WV had a chance at a winning season"

      • mjfank

        Watch out the spelling police is out

        • Bagelknot

          The spelling police "are" out. You do need help.

  • tw eagle

    fox sports network was horrible in their game coverage . . .even leaving the game to air a
    commercial during the third period . . .I like the idea of having all the games on Saturdays , with the possible exception of the turkey day w/e game . . .

    • Randy Woodward

      The PBP guy even said "Morgantown , Virginia" at one point.

  • Luke

    Is this Cream Puff Taylor covering this story? Glad the punter was able to save the "system" from further embarrassment.

    • westfair518

      Luke sorry you don't like the coverage and maybe not even the football team, surely not the coaching staff! Right?

  • Mountain Codger

    I think coach Holg and staff are doing fine. They have made adjustments, which is the name of the game. The second half was better than the 1st half. Kicking game was improved,

  • J Rock

    I bet Kansas State wishes they had won!. No matter a win is a win. We can improve. Most of these kids have not played together

    How many of the starters were not even on this team last year?

  • JimJim

    He's not a head coach, is he?????

  • bva24

    Garbage effort. Garbage coaching.

    • WPark

      I can make the same case for your reply.

    • tony

      yeah we need you there instead bva since you know it all.... as if there wasn't good effort. shut up more alcohol inspired comments

      • bva24

        I have zero confidence in Dana Holgorsen as a D1 head coach. Sorry that you disagree.

        We used to have standards here. Things have changed.

        • Cliff

          Totally agree with you. Somebody needs held accountable for playing so poorly against a 2-10 division 2 school

          • Justin A.

            The offense will come around but the play calling sure left some scratching our heads. Patterson had an entire off season to fix the D and its still a mess. Spend some Big 12 money that we keep hearing about and go get a proven D coordinator already!!!

          • david goldsburg

            well why don't we just fire the whole staff and call it quits right now?

    • Dave

      Garbage comment.