Despite the lightning shortened game, WVU came away from Sunday's game with a solid, but not spectacular victory over an improving Marshall squad. It was a hot day in Morgantown until the rain and lightning came and spoiled all the fun.
Despite the distractions of the off-season and the weather, the Mountaineers put forth a winning effort to keep their all-time record perfect against the Herd. Now it's time to break down the different areas of the game and hand out the season's first report card.
Geno had a solid start to the year and was able to salvage a couple first downs on broken plays. They didn't light up the scoreboard as many had hoped, yet they did score on 5 of 8 drives. The 3 and out following the on-side kick recovery in great field position was glaring though.
Running Game: D
I'm not going to solely throw the OL under the bus for this just yet, mainly because Coach Holgorsen pointed out that it was an overall lack of blocking, including receivers and the other running backs, that was to blame. The young runners never seemed to be able to get anything going. But, I still liked the effort by Roberts to get in the end-zone just before the game was postponed the final time.
Tavon was basically a non-factor in this area of the game but Sticks McCartney emerged as another go-to guy for Geno after settling into more playing time with Nehlen's injury. Coach's indictment of the blocking brings the grade down a bit.
Again, solid, yet not spectacular. The run defense was stout but the LB's struggled a bit. DB's didn't really get tested at all. Bruce didn't get shut out of the sack column. Coach Casteel didn't think they played very well, yet they held Marshall to only 2 field goals.
Special Teams: B-
Smith got off some nice punts and Bitancurt was perfect in his attempts. As I noted in my knee jerk reaction, coverage was good except once, and that killed them in that one instance. Tavon's return saves this from being a C.
The offense didn't seem to exactly click at times, but scored on 5 of 8 possessions and the defense was solid, despite many young guys getting playing time. The glaring stats to me were 0 turnovers and only 2 penalties for 15 yards.
The student section seemed to be a bit over-capacity and the crowd was good and loud throughout most of the first half, as some of you noted in the Game Thread. The "no pass outs" rule contributed to long lines at half time that I believe contributed to the delay of many returning for the start of the second half. It will be interesting to see how this plays out the remainder of the season. The lightning delays caused many to leave and is the reason for the incomplete.
Disagree with any of these? Let us know below.