|FINAL - 9.12.2009||1||2||3||4||TOTAL|
|East Carolina Pirates||10||10||0||0||20|
|West Virginia Mountaineers||7||14||7||7||35|
That was an extremely dominating performance, yet we only won by fifteen. I really don't think I have been more impressed by a team, especially the team that came out after halftime, that won by so few points over an unranked opponent at home. We took it to ECU, and minus some mental mistakes, played a very complete football game. Outgaining any team by the margin we did (272 yards) is impressive, and cleaning up those mistakes will help us win this type of game by three or four touchdowns going forward. All-in-all, a good win, and one that should provide a nice springboard into next weekend in Auburn.
My thoughts after the jump:
- Jeff Mullen has really endeared himself to Mountaineer fans, a huge turnaround from the perceptions of him as a football coach just a short year ago. The amount of variety and a potent downfield attack has really livened up this Mountaineer offense. The playcalling is much more reminiscent of the Car Care Bowl as opposed to the ECU, Colorado, Cincinnati, and Pitt losses of last year.
- ECU dared us to throw the ball, and that's exactly what we did. As the season progresses, you'll see teams drop further and further into coverage, and then Noel Devine's show will begin. Right now, it looks like he's just biding his time while Brown and the passing attack pick apart defenses. This passing game is shock and awe right now, but we should see more balance as the defenses relax and take a man or two out of the box.
- Jock Sanders, besides Jarrett Brown, is the likely MVP of this offense. He is as versatile player that we have, and being able to distract and confuse defenses with his play is a huge plus for us this season. If he were no longer on the team, as looked like a possibility earlier this summer, this would be a much more vanilla offense.
- Sanders might be the present, but Tavon Austin is the future, and we got a glimpse of that future with his beautiful TD catch on Saturday. Austin ran a great route, making a fantastic juke before cutting to the post and beating three different ECU defenders. Brown played a big part by dropping that ball in perfectly, but Austin got open, made the catch, then broke a tackle and took it for a touchdown. Look for Austin to continue to get more looks as the season progresses, and it shows how much faith this staff has in him as he's already on our #1 kickoff return team. He's just, quite simply, the real deal.
- Losing starters Reed Williams and Scooter Berry to injury in the first half could have been disastrous, but the defense stepped up, playing remarkably well in the second half in shutting out ECU. This is a deep unit, and that showed clearly on Saturday. Even with Keith Tandy, Julian Miller, and Robert Sands coming down with short injuries, the defense was able to adapt and keep playing strong. Without the short fields that were provided by Brown's fumble and the two muffed punts, we might have seen a much smaller score line from ECU.
- Kudos to the crowd. Everyone was in their seats by kickoff, both first and second half. The crowd was loud, made sure the officials knew how everyone felt, and supported this team consistently well. One quick note, though...to the guy who was sitting in Section 128, Row 2, seat 126: you're a douchebag. You booed Stewart until things started going right, then sat there like an idiot and eventually left early. Nice work. You deserve to get a pineapple up the ass.
- I truly, firmly believe we beat Auburn. If you're skeptical, tell me why.