The West Virginia Mountaineers beat the LIU Sharks handily, 66-0 Saturday evening. Despite the lopsided win, it was tough to see areas of improvement, considering LIU is only entering their third season at the FCS level.
Nonetheless, West Virginia did what they were supposed to do and came out focused on all three phases in the game and dominated the day.
Winston Wright Jr. returning the opening kickoff 90 yards for the touchdown was needed after the 98-yard return last week came up two yards short of the endzone. It will be interesting how many opportunities he gets going forward because no one should be kicking to him.
The offense was not crisp to begin the game and had to overcome a 4th and 10 and a 3rd and 19 before Leddie Brown pounded the rock in for six on the first offensive series.
There was a bit of a plot twist in the first quarter that came as a surprise. Neal Brown put in backup quarterback Garrett Greene on just the third offensive series and most of the second team members in the skill positions. It was a glimpse into the future with Greene barking out signals and running the read-option with freshman running back Justin Johnson Jr, and it looked better than the first unit.
Greene made plays with his feet and extended a 4th and 7, scrambling to his right and hitting an Isaiah Esdale down the sideline for 28 yards. Greene scampered into the endzone just three plays later.
He missed on a couple of throws on his only drive in the first half but showed better accuracy in the second half. He also adds a major dynamic in the running game.
Doege showed improvement from week one to week two. He escaped some pressure a few times but still was caught in the backfield twice. He has to get better at avoiding the sack. However, one was not his fault. The left tackle missed his block, and there was nowhere to go for Doege.
West Virginia will have to figure out a way to get Leddie Brown loose in the running game. Through two games, he has 96 yards rushing. Defenses are keying on him, and he’s not able to get past the second level and Doege is a non-threat in the running game. Some of the issues may be along the front, but having a legit dual-threat quarterback could alleviate the pressure in the box.
Defensively, the Mountaineers looked sharp and played with intensity for a full 60 minutes. Outside of not giving up big plays, that’s exactly what you wanted to see from that group.
It was a good tuneup game heading into next week as the Mountaineers host an old bitter rival, the Virginia Tech Hokies.
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