Week Three West Virginia
by Kevin Monroe

Well one thing is for sure, we were not ready to stop the run this past Saturday vs. Wake Forest.  The Pirates gave up an astounding 407 yards on the ground, the most Wake Forest has probably ever gotten.  The Pirates knew that they would get a healthy dose of Micah Andrews, the week 1 & 2 starter, who ended up with 142 yards rushing.  The Deacons also ran last years ACC leading rusher Chris Barclay, who had a career day vs. East Carolina.  Barclay finished the game with over 200 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns.  I saw Pirate defenders in the backfield all day long, but none of them could find the ball carrier.  It was the oddest thing I have ever seen, Wake’s line would block one way, the ball carrier would cut another, and no one would be there.  The misdirection seemed to confuse the Pirates and they never looked comfortable against the run.

This week will be different, the Pirates travel to Morgantown where they have never won a football game.  There have been some close ones through the years, but ECU has always come up on the losing end.  Last year, however, was not a close game, the beating that The Mountaineers gave the Pirates really set the tone for the rest of the season.  From the very beginning of that game, when East Carolina won the toss and elected to kick (you heard me right, not to defer, but to kick), I knew we were in for a long day.  The Mountaineers received the football to start the game and went on to beat the Pirates 56-23.  WVU is different from Wake Forest when it comes to the running game. The Mountaineers will run the ball right at the Pirates instead of opting for misdirection.  Under coach Rich Rodriguez, they have more of a spread attack than mountaineer teams from the 90s. But that didn’t stop KJ Harris from running up and down the field last year versus the Pirates.

This year’s Mountaineer team is 3-0 with victories over Syracuse 15-7, Wofford 35-7, and Maryland 31-19.  They have not been as impressive a team as in years past, but they have found a way to win ballgames.  Against Syracuse they didn’t have a single 3rd down conversion and managed to win in the Carrier Dome.   WVU is averaging 27 pts per game on offense and only giving up 11 on defense.  They are also averaging about 5 yards per carry on the ground and over 270 yards per game rushing.  They want to run the ball first and pass second. It will be up to the Pirates once again to see if they can stop the run on the road in a hostile environment.

Kevin Monroe