Dangerous Driving!

by Chris Stansbury

Pirate fans won’t have to wait very long to see what kind of powerhouse is invading Dowdy Ficklen Stadium Saturday afternoon. And I am not talking about West Virginia’s #4 ranking. Or that the Mountaineers lead the nation in rushing yards per game (338 yds/gm). Or even that WVU is scoring 46-plus points per game.
I am talking about West Virginia’s first few possessions. The Mountaineers have played three games so far this season and their success early in football games is staggering.
vs. Marshall             - first 5 drives = 4 Touchdowns
vs. E. Washington   - first 6 drives = 5 Touchdowns
vs. Maryland            - first 7 drives = 5 Touchdowns & 1 Field Goal
West Virginia has scored 94 of its 139 points this season in the first half and pretty much buried opposing teams before the band could make it off the bus.
On top of the fact that West Virginia scores early in games, they also score very quickly. The offensive starters have accounted 16 touchdowns this year. 12 of those 16 scoring drives took less than three and a half minutes before reaching the end zone. That’s pretty impressive coming from a team that runs the football almost every play, which keeps the clock continually running.
West Virginia uses the running attack to set up the passing game and they do it very well. Starting quarterback Pat White averages only nine pass attempts per game. To put that in perspective, Pirate QB James Pinkney completed passes to nine different receivers against Navy alone and threw 26 passes in last weekend’s win against Memphis.
White has thrown only six passes on first down. However, every drive where the Mountaineers threw on first down resulted in a touchdown. So, they pick their spots, but when they do decide to put the ball in the air, it usually pays off.
East Carolina fans better not show up late to Saturday’s game because it is very likely that the fireworks will start early.   Let's just hope the same Pirate Defense that finished the Memphis game, starts the West Virginia game.

Chris Stansbury