Asked about West Virginia's lack of rhythm in the opening half, offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen had a quick response. "I'd debate you on that a little bit," he said without rancor as he discussed WVU's first two quarters of action. While it may have seemed as if the Mountaineers were totally discombobulated while scoring just three points, a closer review bears out Mullen's point.
West Virginia's opening drive consumed nine plays and reached the Herd 22-yard line before bogging down, and it resulted in West Virginia's only score of the half. The second drive was another excellent effort, consuming 13 plays and covering 79 yards before ending in a less than stellar fourth down conversion effort. Each of the next two drives spanned six plays, with the second gaining 41 yards and falling just one yard short of another third-down conversion.
The totals for the first half? Thirty-three plays for 172 yards. Not peak efficiency, certainly, but not sputtering either. Three of the four drives gained significant yardage and yielded good to great chances to score.
Mullen would certainly admit that the first half was not a success, because the Mountaineers failed to put more than a field goal on the board. But his point about the team's overall play is well-taken. It wasn't as if his squad wasn't able to move the ball -- it was just unable to complete drives. That's an issue that will certainly get attention this week.
In this interview, Mullen discusses the first half rhythm and notes that the line between that performance and the success on WVU's final two drives is a thin one. He also gets a mid-interview hug from a familiar face.