Hello, friends. It was a long winter and a hot summer, but we're finally back and not a minute too soon. We spent the offseason watching Skyler Howard's Cactus Bowl highlight reel and repeating "In Gibby We Trust" and are set to watch a blue and gold squad represent the Mountain State for the 125th year. Let's get down to business.
It's GAMEDAY! Good morning from Morgantown! pic.twitter.com/iKjUbkSzv6— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) September 3, 2016
(I know I've said this a few times, but I'm consistently impressed by the graphic work with the things WVU's staff puts out. Not sure who's in charge of all that, but if you do know tell them well damn done. It gives a great impression of the program and I haven't seen anyone nationwide who does it better.)
We hold these truths to be self-evident that college football > pro football.— Michael Cornejo (@MikeCornejo) September 5, 2016
Absolutely. And I'll go ahead and replace "pro football" with "any damn thing on the planet." You know what I didn't think of a single time all weekend? Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Help us college football. You're our only hope.
Been great to watch the rise of WV native Gibby. And can you imagine if 10 years ago I'd told you he'd be the most indispensable member of WVU's staff? Just goes to show there's no way to predict how things will shake out and coaching is a profession dependent on LOT of variables. You never know when the planets will align.
He's gonna make a helluva interim coach.
(oh come on, lighten up y'all. I'm kidding, you know I love Holgo, just having a little fun. It's a game ain't it?)
Anthony Smith (@BigAWVU) August 31, 2016
I include this simply because it's absolutely insane. I mean I don't even know how one would go about assembling a collection of this size without a trapdoor into the WVU laundry room. Or maybe directly to the WVU sideline. I don't know how one goes about collecting that many sets of gloves and cleats and frankly I don't want to know. But that's the greatest collection of WVU memorabilia in history. I'd like to be #11 please.
It's pretty rare anyone uses this space to say something nice about Pitt, but it's pretty rare that a human being as exceptional as James Conner gives us reason to. As inspiring a story of perseverance as I can remember and it warmed the heart to see him punctuate the comeback with not just one but two scores. You do you, James Conner.
Skyler is tough. We know that. Perhaps we don't need reminded such on every chance. #WVU— Randy Gyorko (@GooseGyorko) September 3, 2016
I get that a mobile QB is necessary to keep the defense honest, but it feels like they overdo it sometimes. All I know is WVU's signal caller is a) a bit undersized and b) not necessarily backed up by anybody that inspires anything resembling confidence. The William Crest experiment under center came crashing to an end with an inexplicable unforced fumble deep in WVU territory when he came in to spell a dinged up Howard. Chris Chugunov didn't look a whole lot better throwing jump balls down the middle of the field.
Calling these backups unproven is charitable. There's certainly talent on that bench, but it's raw. So you're left with the simple fact that the success of this Mountaineer offense (and accordingly the team) depends almost entirely on Skyler Howard and the dropoff after him is a precipitous cliff indeed. So if you have one person who is so clearly indispensable, maybe protect them a little. Hell if it were up to me I'd keep him snug in bubble wrap and have him delivered to the huddle in packing peanuts, but I'll settle for him not taking unnecessary shots in games WVU has command of.
Tim Brando dropped this gem from Sklyer on us during the telecast: "I take great pleasure in doing what others say I an't do." Well you know what Sky? I don't think you can run out of bounds to avoid a shot or slide 7 yards down the field. I just don't think you have it in you. I think you're afraid to be afraid. SO PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT (no please don't smoke it I need your lungs healthy just put it in your pipe and be careful of your hands as you're packing it).
Bonus Tim Brando tidbit: loved him announcing kicker Mike Molina was from "Hurr-i-CANE" WV and then coming back a minute later to correct himself and say as we all know it's pronounced "Hurri-can." As someone who grew up around "Hurri-can" I always take great pleasure in those with the temerity to pronounce it like it's spelled. Dummies. Good on ya for the correction, Tim! It's just two syllables!
It wasn't super loud, but there was definitely a segment of the fans in the stands cheering when William Crest came in at QB.— Patrick Southern (@patricksouthern) September 3, 2016
Guessing we won't be hearing from these Rhodes Scholars again anytime soon.
Navy just pulled freshman Malcolm Perry from the stands and put him into the game at QB.— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) September 3, 2016
Let's just not let it get to this, OK?
WELCOME TO ADVENTURES IN PUNT RETURNS WITH WEST VIRGINIA https://t.co/v6wqH6uYga— Smoking Musket (@SmokingMusket) September 3, 2016
This is a longer running show than the Simpsons and would like it to stop please. Seriously is Gary Jennings religiously opposed to fair catches? Is he protesting something Ali-style? Does he think we don't think he's tough enough? Dude, you're tough. You're a man. Just wave your arms and catch the ball.
Crawford walks right in over Pankey replacement Tony Matteo, who gets the seal and gives WVU an important 6 points ...— John Antonik (@JohnAntonik) September 3, 2016
This was a great week for offensive line depth as Matteo stepped in masterfully for the suspended Adam Pankey and when Yodney Cajuste went down Colton McKivitz held the edge wonderfully against a vaunted Mizzou front. In fact Matteo impressed to the extent that he'll hold his spot at LG against Youngstown State. Did we just invent a term for being Wally Pipped over a DUI? Pankey'd?
(for all you Millenials out there who didn't catch that one, google it. Wally Pip was a baseball player for the Yankees who got hurt one day and was replaced by a guy named Lou Gehrig. Worked out great for the Yankees. Not so well for Pip.)
Start of the third quarter. #WVU leads by 10. Stadium is out of beer. Not even joking— Marc Basham (@marc_b) September 3, 2016
What? I mean, how does this even happen? Inexcusable! Can you imagine St. Peter's running out of wine or Pitt running out of [stuff]? Step your game up, stadium!
Five minutes left in the third quarter, Mizzou's once-nasty defense has given up 400 yards and counting.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_AJC) September 3, 2016
WVU had their way with Mizzou in a manner that nobody had had their way with them in a long time. Alabama in the 2014 SEC title game if I'm remembering correctly. Sure there were kinks and red zone execution remains suboptimal, but the WVU defense did a LOT of really good things out there with the potential to do many more. That's about as good an opening performance as you could reasonably have hoped for.
Our guy @BigLij28 with a couple of carries looking like Larry Csonka out there ...— John Antonik (@JohnAntonik) September 3, 2016
Speaking of the potential for more good things, Elijah Wellman y'all. He's comin'.
(This joke was 100% for my Dad. None of the rest of you have even heard of Three Dog Night before. But he's laughing, so it's worth it. Moving on.)
That's 4 dropped ints— Bart (@BartimusPrime19) September 3, 2016
I prefer to think of it like "would you rather drop them against Oklahoma St. or Mizzou?" See, don't you feel better now?
Solid #BOOMSTICK material here.
For the record the ESPN GameDay crew unanimously picked WVU and didn't even think twice about it, so maybe there's a reason these clowns are buried on the SEC Network.
The most yards a team put up against Mizzou last year was Mississippi State who put up 430. Game one of 2016 and #WVU has put up 482 yards.— William Hirsch (@WilliamAHirsch) September 3, 2016
I say again, this was a nice lookin' win against a major college team. WVU did what they wanted, when they wanted and covered the spread to boot. If you're asking more than that out of an opener (or really any game) maybe that's not a WVU problem. Maybe that's just a U problem.
Dana Holgorsen says Howard's injury was to his ribs and said it was tough for him to play through but he did even w being limited #WVU— Matt Welch (@MattWelch_PGH) September 3, 2016
My quarterback is tough. I like that. I'd rather him not have to be tough any more than absolutely necessary.
I think he's earned it.
This staff has been outstanding in season openers. A pair of routs over Marshall, the worst beat down a proud Georgia Southern program had taken in a quarter-century, this solid thumping of Mizzou and the best effort anyone has been able to put up against Eight Months to Prepare for You Nick Saban. If you squint your eyes and ignore the sputtering 7 point win over William and mary in 2013, that's about as good a job as you can do.
Also as a nice aside this win put to rest a 5 game losing streak against the SEC that ironically followed a 5 game winning streak. Ole Miss in the Music City Bowl, UGA in the Sugar, a pair of Mississippi State wins and the 2008 comeback victory over Auburn followed by the anti-comeback loss at Auburn the next year, a pair of losses to LSU in 2010 and 2011, the aforementioned loss to Bama and finally the Liberty Bowl loss to Texas A&M later that year.
I like being back on the right side of that streak.
I just thought this was one of those special moments unique to college sports and I liked it. Also I think among all the Big 12 teams, I like Oklahoma State the best. They're not arrogant like Texas or new money jerks like Baylor. They've got a nice sized chip on their shoulder over OU......they just remind me the most of us. I just like the Pokes.
*record scratch*— Michael Katz (@KatzM) September 4, 2016
Yeah, that's me. You might be wondering how I ended up as a ghost football player pic.twitter.com/KMu3bMp1vM
GUYS I FOUND TEVITA FINAU!!!
(tweet about BYU redacted because no way am I jinxing us like that)
"Know why I like Notre Dame, man? Every year I get a little older and they stay overrated the SAAAMMME WAY. Yes they do, yes they do."
And I'm just about over crying Jordan, but not so much that i won't post this gem:
And we'll end on this pretty damn cool note.
Saving West Virginia High School football. https://t.co/cME1hiRurH— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) September 5, 2016
I think my favorite thing about West Virginia is even after people move away, they always feel a sense of connection and responsibility to the state. These hills just do something special to you I think.
That's all we've got for this week. I'm still working out the kinks but look forward to hitting my midseason stride soon. Let's beat Youngstown and