Late in the second quarter, just before Pat White threw the touchdown pass to Alric Arnett, the WVU offense changed. Down 17-3, this team (and the staff) had a choice: score points or pack up the season. From my seat, you could almost see the exact moment it happened. A four play, 78 yard touchdown drive in just 1:31. It was like the Mountaineer offense of old: just plain dangerous. And with that drive, this team bid adieu to whatever offense was trying to score points in the first six games. From here on out, the show is back in Morgantown, and I can only think of one thing to say...
I really don't want to get too excited, but it's hard not to. What we saw last night was what an entire state was waiting half a season to see. Sure, there were still hiccups last night: two early interceptions, a fumbled end-around, terrible kickoff coverage. But from that turning point in the second quarter, Auburn had absolutely no answer. None. They were completely out-classed by a Mountaineer team that looked every bit like the pre-season top ten team.
And that was the characteristic of many Mountaineer teams of past year. You always got the feeling that the other team just didn't have a chance. We were going to run our offense, you couldn't stop it, and then we'd all go out for beers afterwards. And with 8:08 remaining in that second quarter, we woke up those echoes and found that swagger. And from then on, the game was over. Just like we knew it in the past.
So where do we go from here?
Well, personally, I think the sky's the limit. We needed a game like this to truly establish confidence in what this staff was trying to accomplish. In games where it wasn't going as well, our offense became increasingly conservative. And by conservative, picture a turtle retreating to its shell. But when things started to work and the players started to believe, we let our offensive engine show us what its capable of.
And boy, was it a pretty sight.
PS: I think I'm using the "holy shit, we're good" tag for the first time this season. That makes me very excited.
[thanks to the Charleston Gazette for the photo]