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Game Day: WVU vs. Norfolk State


The Mountaineers search for their run game today as they look to remain unbeaten all time against teams from the lower division.

–Mountaineers did a great job on kick coverage again as the special teams champion from last week, Cecil Level, beat everyone down the field again to make the tackle on the the kickoff. 

–Norfolk State played two quarterbacks during the first series.  Starter Chris Walley was the high percentage guy from last season.   He managed to complete his first pass attempt for a first down.   The The Spartans then suprised the Mountaineers with backup Nico Flores hitting Xavier Boyce for a big play.  Unfortunately, Keith Tandy got beat.   Tandy had one over his head last week that wasn’t completed to an open receiver because the ball was over thrown.   Boyce, by the way, is a Virginia Tech transfer who looks like he could have  a very big day. 

–No Julian Miller on WVU’s starting defensive line again.   Redshirt sophomore Will Clarke started the game for the second week in a row. 

–That was blast by Norfolk State kicker Everett Goldberg.   He split the uprights from 50 yards away.  The kick had plenty to spare as well.

–A start on offense for Vernard Roberts at running back.   Another one of the true freshman backs.   Andrew Buie, the starter last week, got his shoulder popped last week.  He is also dealing with a little bit of a hamstring issue.  

–Julian Miller in there for the second defensive series opposite Will Clarke.  Clarke nearly got his first career sack, but somehow Walley got off a shovel pass that went for a first down.   The Mountaineers continue to rotate Clarke, Miller & Bruce Irvin at DE as promised. 

–Thee consecutive three (or four) and outs for the WVU offense.  Going for it on 4th and three from the five was a bit curious.  The Mountaineers have not been able to run the football at all.  Tyler Bitancut had missed a mid-range field goal earlier. 

–No first downs for the Mountaineers on offense in the first quarter.  WVU 19 yards on ten offensive plays including 13 yards on five rush attempts.   They were fortunate that it wasn’t 14-0 after one. 

–And the shutout for the quarter was indeed rare.  MSN’s Jed Drenning points out that a Dana Holgorsen led offensive team had scored in 52 of the last 56 quarters.   WVU had  chances following the botched onside kick attempt by Norfolk State and the long punt return by Tavon Austin. 

–Tavon Austin took himself out of the game for one play after it looked like he tweaked an ankle.  Austin made a brilliant spin move at the 35 following a catch to get the ball down near the goal line. 

–Six shots from the one yard line.  None by Ryan (16 career touchdowns) Clarke.

–A Quinton Spain sighting late in the second quarter as he checked in at left guard.   On the first play of that series, Norfolk State got a sack while rushing just three. 

–Halftime stats:   Norfolk State held the ball for over 19-minutes in the first half.  The Spartans averaged 6.4 yards per offensive play while outgaining WVU 242-143.   The Mountaineers don’t have a turnover for the second consecutive week.   The good news is–even though they led to field goals and not touchdowns–WVU moved the ball well on both of the second quarter possessions.   Norfolk State’s Chris Walley is 13-18 for 122 yards.   Xavier Boyce has seven catches for 95 yards.  The Spartans leading rusher–Takeem Hedgeman–is averaging nearly eight yards per carry. 

–Mountaineers looked much better during the first drive of the second half.  Another great return by Austin got it going.  Stedman Bailey had to wait for long pass down the left sideline to arrive.   The Mountaineers even got a short yardage touchdown from Vernard Roberts.   I can only imagine what it was like in the room during halftime. 

–I was shocked to see that Rutgers was hanging in there deep into the second half with North Carolina until I took a closer look at the box score and saw that UNC had turned the ball over FIVE TIMES with still  five minutes to go in the third quarter.   Rutgers is completely outmatched up front.  They have just one yard rushing to this point. 

–Mountaineers are rolling now.  Dustin Garrison got his first series.  He gained 34 on a catch out of the back field right up the seam.  Then he had a big gain on a run.  With a personal foul penalty, the Mountaineers got the bal to the 16 on just two plays.    The third pass interference penalty of the game on Norfolk State gave the Mountaineers a first and goal.  The Mountaineers scored on the best play fake I’ve ever seen from Geno Smith.  Austin was wide open in the end zone.  Two touchdowns in the first five minutes of the second half.   Again, I can only imagine what was said in the room at halftime. 

 –16 penalties for 162 yards for Norfolk State.   Included in that was a play where the Spartans committed two personal fouls on the same play.   Devon Brown made a nice catch down near the goal line to set up Dustin Garrison’s short TD run.  The Mountaineers punched it in this time on the first carry as Garrison took it over. 

–The Mountaineers are playing fast as they are 4-4 on drives for touchdowns in the second half.  The Spartans defense is spent. 

–I am out.  Heading down to watch the 4th quarter from the slidelines.   Talk to you on the MetroNews Point After. 

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