It feels good for at least one week, to be on the right side of things. West Virginia won, handily, against an inferior opponent and we got to see the present and the future for the West Virginia Mountaineers.
It was nice, at least for one week, to see the dominant defense that we expected to see this season. Against Towson, the defense allowed 0 points [the only points came on a kickoff return, which is not against the defense], 98 yards passing, and 82 yards rushing. Towson converted 3 of 14 third-down opportunities, 3 of 4 fourth-down opportunities. The Tigers ran 55 plays all game and held the ball for only 24 minutes.
Conversely, the offense has been unstoppable, not just this game but nearly all season. Since the second half of the Pitt game, 2.5 games, the offense has scored 17 touchdowns in 22 opportunities. Last year the team didn’t score their 17th touchdown on the season until the Texas Tech game with 1:15 left in the third quarter. And the balance on offense, over 300 yards passing between the 4 quarterbacks and over 300 yards rushing. Both Tony Mathis and CJ Donaldson broke the 100-yard barrier, JT Daniels, Goose Crowder and Nicco Marchiol all threw a touchdown, Garret Greene ran for a touchdown. Again, a superior opponent did what it is expected to do against an inferior opponent.
It was however, a bit concerning to see our QB1 being blasted a few times by the Tigers on passes. With returning starters, I did not think that Towson would get any pressure on our quarterback and the fact that the only recorded sack came against Daniels seems to indicate that this offensive line just isn’t the dominant force that we expected it to be. Perhaps, we’re still a year away but it is a bit concerning to see our offensive line be confused or allow pressure against Towson.
The thing I love most about these games is that our young players get in and yesterday, many of our young players got to experience their firsts. First pass in college, first catch in college and several players either threw or caught their first touchdown: Will Crowder, Nicco Marchiol, Preston Fox, Kaden Prather, and Jeremiah Aaron. Those are memories that you want to come out of this game with. “Hey ma, did you see my first touchdown catch?!” Great times all around for those young men.
First regular season appearance ✔️— Ryan Decker (@RyanDecker_) September 17, 2022
First completed pass ✔️
First touchdown pass ✔️
First time singing Country Roads ✔️
Plenty of firsts today for Nicco Marchiol (@MarchiolNicco)! #WVU #HailWV @GoldAndBlueNtn pic.twitter.com/XVP9z771Sy
Awesome to see former Rocket QB Goose Crowder with a nice TD drive today! Just so happens my college buddy is the sideline reporter so I get close up videos! @_crowder18 @TheSignalCaller pic.twitter.com/daPdxBDKfB— Chad Eads (@ChadEadsOL) September 17, 2022
I’m not sure I can say that this was a “must-win” game but Neal Brown needed to win this game in the fashion that he won. Losing this game was grounds for immediate termination, and while winning this game doesn’t save his job, it is the game that could be needed to kick-start the climb he spoke about back in 2019.
Next week begins the hard work. It is a short week, night game on the road against a traditional foe. We’ve already lost one this season and we went 1-1 last year. 1-5 is still on the table and should be a concern. But 3-2 is also on the table and get to 3-2 and you can get a lot more buy-in.
Jordan, our game-day preview specialist, has been pounding the drum that we’re so close to being 3-0 and the quarter can only land on tails so many times before the luck has to change. A game like this is one can be a “slump-buster” and may get the monkey off the backs of the team. Sometimes good teams just need a get-right game to get their confidence up, to prove that they can play, and prove that everything they’ve been taught does work. Never discount the mental portion of this game.
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