Excited and strapped in to see where this Dana Holgorsen led offense can take the Mountaineers in 2011:
First, the pre-game thoughts.
The Mountaineer mantrip, by all accounts, seemed to be a big hit with the fans and the players.
Another new tradition is the banner the players run out under prior to the start of the game. Similar to what Michigan does. The giant inflated helmet seems to be something else that is a thing of the pass. Nicely done pre-game with the band and the countdown on the scoreboard to the appearance of the players on the field.
No need to worry about the players getting and staying warm today. Game time temperature is 90 degrees with a realFeel of 95.
Among the honorary captains for today, former Mountaineer great and ten year NFL vet John Thornton.
–No Julian Miller to start the game for WVU. Miller had been hobbled in camp with an ankle injury. He was replaced as starter by Will Clarke. Miller was in the game by the third series, but he had a limited number of first half snaps. The Mountaineers substituted frequently on defense over those first three series due to the heat and humidity.
–True freshman Andrew Buie gets the call to start at tailback. He had the first six carries of the game gaining 12 yards.
–The old Geno Smith/Stedman Bailey chemistry is back on full display as Bailey had five in the first quarter on WVU’s first three drives.
–Ivan McCartney gets his first career touchdown grab from his former high school teammate Smith. McCartney had just one catch all of last season. The Mountaineers obviously need him to become a productive part of this offense.
–Does Geno like Dana? How about 10-13 for 104 yards over WVU’s first three possessions?
–Dustin Garrison’s first action comes early in the 2nd as he begins as the tailback during WVU’s 4th possession of the game.
–WVU’s quick tempo caught Marshall for the first time in the 2nd quarter as the Herd got flagged for 12 men on the field while trying to get substitions into the game.
–A Brad Starks sighting! The mystery man of pre-season camp made a clutch, third down catch to keep a 2nd quarter drive alive.
–Smith completed passes to seven different receivers in the first half as he finished 17-22 for 187 yards. The Mountaineers were 6-10 on third down. There were coversions on 3-13, 3-20, 3-10, 3-16 all on the same drive in the second quarter. The Mountaineers had the ball for over 18 minutes in the half.
–On the negative side, Marshall averaged 4.6 yards per rushing attempt, plus there was the 87-yard punt return by Andre Booker.
Julian Miller saw limited playing time in the first half and is not in the game during the first series of the 2nd half. Will Clarke has seen the majority of playing time at end. Junior college transfer Josh Francis has seen some time at end in passing situations.
–First tantrum for Dana Holgorsen as WVU coach came after the Mountaineers first possession of the second half. It was the one that ended on the ill-advised shovel pass by Geno Smith. The coach was quick to remove the headset to chase the players back toward the bench. The offensive linemen seemed to get the brunt of it.
–The first gamble by the new coach failed to pay off as WVU was stuffed out of the diamond formation on 4th down. The Mountaineers had the ball near field following Marshall’s failed on-side kick attempt. Now Marshall has the ball near mid-field.
–The Mountaineers did not get a special teams touchdown for the entire season last year. Tavon Austin had the last return touchdown. He had a 98-yard kickoff return for a score in the 2009 game vs. UConn. The return of 100 yards today was the 6th of 100 yards or more in school history.
–Lightning delay at 5:48 p.m.
–2nd lightning delay at 7:56
–A note from the WVU locker room during the delay: Junior receiver Ryan Nehlen was reported to have been suffering from concussion symptoms. He is out for the rest of the game.
–Andrew Buie is also out for the rest of the game with a bruised shoulder.
–Game resumed at 8:49. Delay time: 3:01.
–Bruce Irvin lined up inside on the play on which he recorded his first sack of the season. The sack snuffed out Marshall’s drive following the resumption of the game.
–Vernard Roberts, who was listed as #1 on the depth chart at running back following the spring and coming into this first game, saw his first action on WVU’s first series following the delay. Roberts got 10 yards on his first four carries and eventually capped the drive early in the 4th quarter with his first collegiate touchdown.
–Longest quarter in college football history, nearly four hours to play that one.
–Tyler Urban’s catch on this scoring drive represented the 9th Mountaineer to catch a pass in the game following Bailey, Buie, Austin, McCartney, Brown, Garrison, Milhouse & Starks.
–Lightning delay again 9:06: We’ve reached the point of absurdity….