MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As if a 46-point halftime cushion wasn’t convincing enough, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said his team didn’t allow its Week 1 loss to bleed into Week 2.
“Proud of the way the guys bounced back,” Holgorsen said after Saturday’s 56-20 cakewalk over East Carolina. “I really felt like after the game last week our guys were motivated to go play again. Five-and-a-half days later they showed up today.”
Five touchdown passes by Will Grier, another 100-plus rushing from Justin Crawford and zero turnovers highlighted West Virginia’s attack.
The margin stood 49-3 at halftime and Holgorsen left his starters in for two additional series in the third quarter.
“We obviously had the game in hand at halftime, which is rare in college football,” Holgorsen said. “It was a little sloppy in the second half but we were able to play a lot of people.”
West Virginia’s offense piled up 619 yards, including 479 in the runaway opening half — an overwhelming signal that last weekend’s emotional loss to Virginia Tech had been buried.
Pirates shredded early
Not many gave East Carolina (0-2) a chance to win Saturday, and its defense made the long odds even longer. West Virginia scored touchdowns on five consecutive series to start the game.
“Defensively we didn’t show up at all,” said coach Scottie Montgomery. “At times it was like we were playing with 10 people out there.”
The 56 points were the second-most allowed by the Pirates during Montgomery’s 14-game tenure, behind the 66 that Navy scored last November.
After such a lopsided first half, Montgomery tried to find a silver lining in ECU outscoring the Mountaineers 17-7 over the final 30 minutes.
“There are no moral victories, but we really wanted to come out and win the second half.”
White catches on
Kyzir White took plenty of teasing from defensive coordinator Tony Gibson and safeties coach Matt Caponi about dropping several potential interceptions last season.
He also took those missed opportunities personally.
“It was biting at me all offseason, so I got on the JUGS machine after practice every day and would catch at least 100 tennis balls,” he said.
White’s hand-eye coordination looked on-point against East Carolina, producing his first two interceptions as a Mountaineer.
“In high school and juco I was always catching picks. Wherever the ball was, I was,” he said. “But then I got here last year, and it was some opportunities I missed. I don’t know if the pressure got to me or what.”
East Carolina amassed 470 yards and scored two second-half touchdowns, one against the starters and a late 95-yard bomb against the Mountaineers’ No. 2 defense.
“I wouldn’t say we dominated,” said Mike linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton, who made a team-high eight tackles. “We’re still seeing where we’re at and what kind of guys we have.”