As always, there's positives and negatives that come out of these games and I'm having a hard time telling because of WVU's quick start. The first quarter was absolutely unbelievable. The WVU offense marched right down the field for a quick score and then the fumble recover on special teams put us up 14-0 before most people had staggered to their seats. How awesome is that?
Obviously, the best drive was when WVU started at their own 4-yard line and drove down the field to go up 21-0. And the awesome interception put the Mountaineer up 28-0 and, well, that was pretty much the game. At that point, I think there was a letdown for the Mountaineers because, well, the game was, for the most part, sealed.
Positives first because, well, it was a very positive game. Slaton and Schmidt, along with White, are quite a threesome in the backfield. White and Slaton are deadly quick and Schmidt can plow throught defenders when he needs to. The offensive line created huge holes in the Maryland defense for runs...it was just amazing. Special teams played very, very well...creating turnovers and not allowing Maryland anything big on kick or punt returns. McAfee has shown a great variety of kickoffs...he can kick the ball probably 5 different ways and seems to have pretty good control on where that ball is going.
The defense played well early...they forced some turnovers and they were able to get pressure on the quarterback which has been one of the early season complaints. For the most part, I thought they defended well down the field.
Now, for the complaints...which were coming...you knew they were. We still haven't seen Pat White throw the ball much. Of course, if you can run like we did, why would you throw? But there were a few instances where I would have liked to see White throw a mid-range pass. It seems to be screens, wideouts or really, really deep. I have not seen a well executed slant pattern or mid-range pass this year.
The secondary continues to play soft. Maryland consistently moved the ball with short passes that picked up 3-5 yards. The WVU defense had a hard time stopping Maryland on short yardage downs...namely the 4th downs that Maryland converted. The Maryland O-line was obviously bigger than our D-line but we'll face that again throughout the season I'm sure. And, of course the penalties were unacceptable. Way, way too many.
But, we were up big early and lost some composure. If it were a close game, some of those complaints would have probably been addressed. Until we're in a tight game, it's hard to tell how those things would play out. When you're up 28-o that fast, it's hard to stay motivated and composed. Rich obviously just wanted to get the game over with and prepare for the next one. All in all, I was very, very pleased. Maryland is a tough opponent and this could have been a real stumbling block...but, not problem.
Off to East Carolina next for a showdown with the Pirates. I can't imagine that being much of a contest but WVU needs to stay focused, and undefeated, to setup the showdown in Louisville on November 2nd. Way too early to look ahead...but I am.