I was pretty impressed by the Mountaineers last night, I must admit. Once again, it wasn't a huge blowout but the defense played well and WVU played a great second half. USC has made their recent run with strong second half play and that appears the be the emphasis of the WVU coaches. After a close first half, Ralph "The Fridge" Friedgen had no answer for the running attack of Slaton, Devine and Schmitt. Pat White didn't have a great game...only 22 rushing yards and 95 passing yards, but it was enough for a solid victory.
Special teams looked improved...other than a McAfee missed field goal from like the 4 in the first half. Kick coverage looked must better than it did in the first two games. The defense held up, bent at times but never really broke. Once again, the Rodriguez defense will give up first downs and plays but attempts to prevent the big plays. I know it's frustrating but it does look much better than it did against Marshall and WMU.
On a negative note, I was very, very unhappy with the ESPN coverage. There is never any reason to cut away from a game to show Ray Lewis or interview Ray Lewis or anyone for that matter. People have tuned into ESPN to watch a football game...not an impromptu interview with an injured Ravens ex-con. To make matters worse, instead of splitting the screen between Lewis and the game...ESPN decided to split the screen between Lewis and the broadcasting crew. And it was still in the first half when the game was still very much in doubt. I was completely befuddled by the fact that the WWL would allow this to occur. Of course, it shouldn't surprise me too much because ESPN's coverage had progressively gotten worse year after year.
But, back to the good side, WVU looked solid on national television against a quality opponent and, for the 4th consecutive time, beat the Fridge. The rivalry won't resume until 2010, so this is a good note to leave them on...to think about for a few years. And, once again, it shows how far the ACC has fallen in comparison to the Big East. Many thought Maryland could compete for the ACC championship this year (because the ACC is so weak). I hope they win the ACC...that would just be funny.
WVU (3-0) takes on East Carolina and Lou Holtz's son on September 22nd. I'm sure Lou will be frothing at the mouth in anticipation of the matchup. Literally.