We've been half-assing our game previews since, well, this blog started. Starting today and continuing before each game, we'll be rolling out a more complete look at the upcoming game. Today, we turn to Rutgers.
When WVU is on offense:
When Pat White, Steve Slaton and the rest of the offense take the field, the offense will look much different than the one that Rutgers saw last year. With a revamped offense line that will likely be revamped again this week and a healthy Pat White; Rutgers will see a lot more runs during this contest.
After watching the South Florida-Rutgers game, I’m pretty sure Rod will be attacking the same things I saw. Look I’m not saying I’m a football coach, or could play one on TV, but some things were obvious. Case in point, the number of times Matt Grothe was able to get outside the tackles and take advantage of Rutgers linebackers over pursing plays. Therefore, I look for a lot of fake handoffs to Slaton and Schmidt up the middle and White get on the outside and cut up the field. (Imagine the first play from scrimmage against Mississippi State) Also, West Virginia needs to avoid having White sit in the pocket. The Bulls did more of this with Grothe in the second half which led to five Rutgers sacks.
Most importantly, WVU just needs to avoid turnovers and sloppy play. In their last two big road games (Louisville ’06 and South Florida ’07), West Virginia was ultimately done in by these two factors. Because of the South Florida game, White and Slaton have taken a hit nationally; this is their game to get back on track.
When WVU is on defense:
The key to this game is stopping Ray Rice. The key to stopping Ray Rice is hitting him before he really gets his momentum going. Rice is one of the best down hill runners in college football. He destroyed USF last week between the tackles. We need to keep Wicks close to the line on the edge to allow the linebackers to plug the middle if a hole opens.
So after we lock down Rice, with the 11th best rush D in the country, we have nothing to worry about because Mike Teel is not good enough to beat the number 5 pass defense in the country. Mundy locks down the deep ball and with a re-energized Johnny Dingle ready to decapitate Teel we are looking pretty good. If Teel does have time, Lankster will be covering Underwood, like we all wish panties would cover Britney's vajayjay.
Over the past few weeks, except for the deep pass in the USF game, this D has made me a believer. If we lock down Rutgers, the rest of the nation is soon to follow.
WVU has historically dominated Rutgers, to the tune of 28-4-2. The last loss came in 1994. That record, however, is misleading, because this Rutgers program is nothing like the one that took an 80-7 whooping by an awful WVU squad in 2001.
Greg Schiano is a star coach in this conference, probably only second to our own Rich Rodriguez. Luckily, though, Schiano doesn't (yet) have our number, like USF's Jim Leavitt. That said, Schiano's squad put up a helluva fight last year in Morgantown. Then again, that game was played without start QB Pat White. White is expected to play the entire game tomorrow afternoon. Another huge difference between last year and tomorrow is the Rutgers defense. What was once a very fast, experienced squad is still fast, but graduation has really hurt this defense. A defense that eventually gave up 41 points to WVU with its backup QB.
This is a stern test, but not one that should keep us out of the BCS picture. After Rutgers' win against USF, a win tomorrow will make more than a ripple on the national landscape. This is a good win, if we can get it. Our bet? We get it.
WVU (-6) 27
Stiles (loves underdogs)
Washington State +6 vs. UCLA
NC State +4 vs. Virginia
South Carolina +2.5 @ Tennessee
Mississippi State +14 @ Kentucky
UConn +4.5 vs. USF
5th Year Senior
Purdue -12.5 vs. Northwestern
Florida -7.5 vs. Georgia
Nebraska +21.5 @ Texas
FIU +40.5 @ Arkansas
Clemson -3.5 @ Maryland
Indiana +8.5 @ Wisconsin
Colorado +12.5 @ Texas Tech
UConn +4.5 vs. South Florida
Texas A&M +2.5 vs. Kansas
Michigan State -3 @ Iowa