It's nighttime in Morgantown and the expectations have changed after what we saw in Week 1. Let's look back at West Virginia's masterful performance to see what we learned with the Mountaineer Retweet!
The Mountaineers raised expectations with their tough loss to Alabama and we were all ready to glean what we could from a game against FCS team Towson 7 days later. And as befits a major FCS power, we were doing things under the lights, baby! But with it being a night kickoff, I had most of the day to sit and watch other teams. So I'll confess to looking past the Towson Tigers to next week's opponent, the Maryland Terrapins who were playing old nemesis South Florida.
But first one final longing glance over the shoulder at Bama.
Saw my buddy wearing a Bama shirt. Me: "Just had to wear that shirt huh?" Him: "If y'all could catch the ball, I'd be asking you that"— Jason Perdue (@jason1040) September 6, 2014
Bama fan knows how close they were to losing. They know it. I need to stop re-watching that game. Tear off those damn rear-view mirrors Huggins-style.
14 points with this offensive personnel is unacceptable, yet we're still going to demand a stop from the D here— TerrapinStationMD (@terpstationmd) September 6, 2014
Quite simply Maryland looked like crap. They couldn't move the ball, their offensive line seemed suspect and they were just generally a sloppy football team. But we'll get to them in a few days.
WVU is going with the blue helmets, gold tops and blue bottoms for the home opener. #HailWV— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) September 6, 2014
If you've read much of my stuff you know I'm a bit of a uniform curmudgeon. Having said that, if you're going to wear golds, this is the scheme to wear them in. Looked sharp.
New things! pic.twitter.com/FnNPRpDN3P— Smoking Musket (@SmokingMusket) September 6, 2014
New scoreboards looking sharp! The new optics at Milan Puskar Stadium got a lot of play leading up to, during and after the game. I don't think anyone will be missing the gray walls.
See that? Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.
If anyone from Root Sports is reading this, please know that you are all quite awful at your jobs. This was the first time I found myself jealous of SEC teams with their network, because their lower-tier games get put on by actual professionals, not a half-assed channel that pre-empts the WVU home opener for a damn Pirates game. Here's hoping WVU can find a new broadcast partner for their third-tier rights in the near future.
Towson gang-rushed #WVU within the one-yard-line on three straight plays. The Mountaineers will settle for a field goal, now up 10-0.— Marc Basham (@marc_b) September 7, 2014
Unfortunately WVU picked up right where they left off in the red zone on Saturday night getting stuffed from the one by Towson and then missing a field goal on the next trip. This continues to be my biggest concern heading into Maryland. Sure WVU got back on track later in the game and scored
That's the same topic we discussed during the week, getting TD's in the score zone instead of FG's. Settled for 3 again......— Jeff Culhane (@jeffculhane) September 7, 2014
And I'm guessing we'll be talking about it more this week, too.........
I really believe Kevin White will have 1,000 receiving yards this season.— Jonathan Martin (@JonathanKMartin) September 7, 2014
Given that he's about a quarter of the way there already I don't think I'd take that bet.
Great example of scramble drill there. Trickett flushed from pocket and White comes back to the football to make a play— Jeff Culhane (@jeffculhane) September 7, 2014
That doesn't happen last year. It's really fun to have these moments where you can actually see how this team grew in the offseason. Lot of credit to the coaches for scheming and the kids for putting in the time.
Really nice draw call by Holgorsen & Dawson. Trickett pulls it down after emptying the backfield and scores from 5-yard line. #WVU up 31-0.— Greg Madia (@GregMadia) September 7, 2014
Beautiful playcall there. My favorite thing about it was when Jed Drenning asked Holgo about it as he came off the field at the half he said "yeah we can't let somebody empty the box against us down there like that. That's an easy touchdown." You could all but hear him add "you f-king hear that, Randy Edsall?"
It's fun to pants a team that we should pants. I feel like @AlligatorArmy.— Smoking Musket (@SmokingMusket) September 7, 2014
Obviously an FCS team is an FCS team, but this was by far the most focused effort we've seen out of a Holgorsen team in his 4 games against squads from the lesser division. There was the 2011 team that was actually trailing Norfolk State at the half, an uninspired effort from the 2012 team to get by James Madison and the stink-fest against William and Mary last year. At this point we've all watched enough football that, even against an out-manned FCS team, we all know what a good football team looks like in these types of games (right Nebraska?). West Virginia looked like a good football team.
Boom. Helluva stat line there.
work on his novel RT @MarkEnnis: What’s the selection committee person assigned to the Big Ten gonna do for the rest of the year?— J.R. Lind (@jrlind) September 7, 2014
Let's take a minute for some Schadenfreude here. It's September 6th and the Big 10 is effectively eliminated from the college football playoff. But hey, at least they've got their network, right?
Jordan Thompson's 30-yard punt return was 12 yards better than his COMBINED yardage last season. WVU had just 61 yards in 2013.— Mike Casazza (@mikecasazza) September 7, 2014
The final piece of the special teams puzzle may have fallen into place with Squirt putting on the best performance BY FAR we've seen from him fielding punts. Now, I realize that it's just one game against one not really good team, and to (kinda) quote ‘Pulp Fiction', "let's not start (bleeping) each other's (bleeps) just yet gentlemen." But it's a step in the right direction and hopefully gave him the confidence he needed to exorcise some punt return demons from last season.
Ask me in a week, Sheed.
#WVU has gone 8-of-10 on third down. Equal parts execution and facing Towson, but a slick performance nonetheless.— Allan Taylor (@AllanTaylorWVU) September 7, 2014
Like I was saying earlier, those are the types of numbers a good team puts up against an FCS opponent.
.@AP_Top25 are you seeing what I'm doing to Towson?— Not Dana Holgorsen (@FauxHolgorsen) September 7, 2014
Getting' that swag back, baby........
Towson is awful. No getting around it, but man.... #WVU defense has some speed. Flying to the ball.— Randy Gyorko (@GooseGyorko) September 7, 2014
Yup. And FWIW word seems to be that Wes Tonkery should be good to go for Maryland.
We are rolling over Towson and we are talking pepperoni rolls on Twitter. We have reached #MaximumMountaineer.— Brandon Priddy (@abpriddy) September 7, 2014
Things got fun and silly in the second half......which is how these games are supposed to go (right, Nebraska?)
This absolutely needs to happen.
ALSO NEEDS TO HAPPEN.
(seriously, we were deep into the goofy weeds with this one and it was a welcome departure from the nail-biter against W & M last year. This is what these games should feel like.)
well I had a pretty good day and talk with Andrew lucks dad pic.twitter.com/db8qpehBCO— matt jones (@MJonesy79) September 7, 2014
"Andrew Luck's Dad" made me laugh. Somebody told the kid that was WVU's athletic director, right? Right?
It's probably not a good sign that William Crest just made me look up whether to use the word "auspicious" or "inauspicious" for his debut.— WMITC (@THE_REAL_WMITC) September 7, 2014
Depending on when you were talking, both would have been appropriate.
You wonder now how Dana will incorporate Crest into the offense this season. Must have a vision for #Big12 play.— Jeff Culhane (@jeffculhane) September 7, 2014
Hell, who says he's waiting for Big 12 play to break the young man out in special red zone packages? For all the great things we saw there are still legitimate questions about WVU's ability to score in the red zone. If nothing else, William Crest's appearance gave Maryland just a few more megabytes of tape to watch in preparation for the Mountaineers. And if things stall under Trickett in the red zone who's to say he doesn't throw Crest out there to see what happens. Or how about this, line Crest up at receiver and motion him in to play QB if you get some matchups you like. No shortage of options when you're able to integrate a guy with that kind of talent into your offense.
Lots of new faces in the ball game on defense for #WVU. Al-Rasheed Benton, Xavier Preston, Cullen Christian to name a few.— Keenan Cummings (@rivalskeenan) September 7, 2014
Unlike some of the attractive young ladies that drew my college attentions, this squad has some real depth. And it's a beautiful thing to behold.
White also has back-to-back games with at least 100 receiving yards - another first since Stedman Bailey.— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) September 7, 2014
Kevin White is a damn monster and your kids check under their beds for him before they lay their little heads down to sleep.
Hey let's check in on Texas - BYU......
There should never in the history of ever be any reason for Texas to be this bad.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) September 7, 2014
The night was won by Fake Beebe, though:
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD CHARLIE STRONG I KNOW YOU WANT TO WIN WITH INTEGRITY BUT I DONT THINK YOU CAN WIN WITH FIFTEEN DUDES AND SOME STRAY DOGS— Fake Dan Beebe (@DanBeebe) September 7, 2014
Maybe it was the beers or my general giddiness at how WVU looked or it being late but that seriously made me giggle for like 5 straight minutes.
William Crest is if Pat White, Jarrett Brown, and Geno Smith had a baby. #WVU— Andrew Little (@AJLittle304) September 7, 2014
(someone please explain to Andrew that he's missing a pretty important component for baby-making)
William Crest & Dana Holgorsen clearly love each other .... pic.twitter.com/JhrOg68V7H— Jonathan Martin (@JonathanKMartin) September 7, 2014
Nice to see.
Marshall & WVU now leading Towson & Rhode Island 102-7. #WV #304— Derek Mooney (@DerekMooney_1) September 7, 2014
Marshall and WVU have also combined to win 3 BCS bowl games in the last decade.
Was nice to see how seriously the backups took the charge to maintain the goosegg and bring it home.
I'm glad Tonkery is playing great with all the people saying Stew wasted a scholarship on him only because he was from WV...— Bearded One (@THEChrisKessell) September 7, 2014
I called this score. Ha ha. I had us winning 55-0.— EersNation™ (@EersNation) September 7, 2014
Well done, good sir!
There are a lot of ways tonight could have gone for WVU, but none better than this as far as confidence goes.— Chris Anderson (@CMAnderson247) September 7, 2014
I'll take it a step farther and say, aside from shocking Alabama, these first two games have gone as well as anyone could have reasonably hoped. We're watching a well-coached team play sharp football and how many times in the last few years have we honestly been able to say that? Furthermore there were no significant injuries (assuming Tonkery is good to go). This team couldn't possibly be in a better frame of mind to face Maryland.
Just a quick reminder #Terp faithful: Maryland actually won the football game today. Scored more points than the other team and everything.— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) September 7, 2014
Which is more than you can say for Maryland.
Shutout. 600+ yards. Bring on Maryland. #WVU— Mike McGhee (@SportsGuy510) September 7, 2014
Gonna be hard to concentrate at work this week.
The Maryland game, for years, has been a great barometer for the WVU season. Nothing has changed. Can't wait.— Joe Myers (@Jimi2142) September 7, 2014
Oh look, nightmare fuel....NOW I CAN'T SLEEP OR WORK AND I HAVE LIKE 100 SOME HOURS TO KILL BRING ON MARYLAND DAMMIT!!!
So there you have it. A solid win for a Mountaineer team that seems to be growing into itself as it prepares for a trip to College Park that has the potential to set an unbelievably positive trajectory for the season. Soak it in, stay with us here at the Musket as we prepare for the Terps and pour yourself another glass of optimism.
Until next week,