Date: September 8, 2018
Time: 6:00pm EST
Venue: Mountaineer Field, Morgantown, WV
How to Watch/Listen
TV: AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh
Streaming: The stream will be available on WVUsports.com and the WVU Gameday App. Additionally, fans will be able to tune in live via Roku and Apple TV by searching for the “MountaineerTV” channel on each device.
Radio: Click HERE for a complete list of radio affiliates in West Virginia. If you live outside of the state, or don’t live close enough to a radio affiliate, you can listen to the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG on TuneIn Radio.
It's not my least favorite combo, but you'd've thought we'd finally go blue-blue-gold considering we're honoring the '88 squad.
Know Your Enemy
Series History: (2-0). The Mountaineers have won both of their meetings with the Penguins to date, including a 37-24 victory in Morgantown in 2016.
2018 Record: 0-1. The 'Guins opened the season with a loss to 37-point underdog, zero scholarship-having Butler. You have to imagine they'll be looking to return the favor this weekend.
Head Coach: Bo Pelini. Pelini's name still carries some considerable weight in the college football world, but won't for long if he loses too many more like he did last week.
Offensive Coordinator: Brian Crist. Crist was with the Penguins the last time they visited Morgantown, but is only in his first season as offensive coordinator.
Defensive Coordinator: Richard McNutt and Donald D'Alesio. Both of these guys have been at Youngstown for a few years now and have worked their way up from position coaches to co-coordinators.
When we have the ball..
Players to watch: LB Armand Dellovade, CB Bryce Gibson, FS Kyle Hegedus
Defining success: Get the ground game going
State's defense opened the season by holding Butler to just 339 yards and 23 points, which is pretty good until you remember that the Bulldogs don't have any football players on scholarship. Schematically they'll run a 4-down front with four seniors and a decent rotation behind them, while their secondary features returning starters Bryce Gibson and Kyle Hegedus. The leader of the group though, is All-Conference linebacker Armand Dellovade.
Looking at their numbers from the first game, the preferred method of attack would appear to be the pass. I'm sure we'll do plenty of that, but I think the most important thing for us to do in this game is develop some momentum on the ground. We ran the ball reasonably well against Tennessee last week, rushing 24 times for 118 yards, but I still think that's selling the talent of both our line and backfield short. They're better than that, and I think they'll have the chance to prove that this week.
When they have the ball...
Players to watch: QB Montgomery VanGorder, RB Tevin McCaster, WR Samuel St. Surin
Defining success: Stop McCaster
Offensively the Penguins seem reasonably balanced, with Tevin McCaster providing the threat on the ground while Notre Dame transfer Montgomery VanGorder supplies it through air. They have a lot of new faces at receiver but seem to be reasonably experienced up front, and that, combined with the fact that McCaster is their best offensive player, means we can probably expect them to try to establish the run. That obviously makes our number one priority stopping it. If we stop McCaster, we stop their play action game, and ultimately we stop them.
Defining success: No big plays in the return game
Kicker Zak Kennedy and punter Matt Schuler both return from the Penguins' last trip to Morgantown and give them a solid special teams foundation. I don't know much about their coverage teams, but they do appear to have a pair of solid return men that we need to keep a close eye on. Nothing keeps games close that shouldn't be like big plays in the third phase.
Let's be honest: there's no reason for this one to be close. Let's build on the foundation we laid last week and get outta there injury free.
West Virginia 45 Youngstown State 17