Musings, Matchups and More: W&M Edition

Each week, I'm going to take a little different look at some of the items of interest and salient points that have caught my attention during pre-game study. It might be technical, whimiscal, funny or serious, but above all I hope its entertaining, and gives every fan something to think about and watch during the game. Game Scorecard
Sat 8/31 12:00 PM EST

Morgantown, WV

Mountaineer Field at
Milan Puskar Stadium
Record: 0-0

Last Game
Syracuse 14-38 L
TV: FOXSports1
Sirius\XM: 132/192/192
Record: 0-0

Last Game
Richmond 14-21 L
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2013 Schedule

Series: WVU 15-0-1

First Meeting: 1954
Last Meeting: 1972
Press Release
Season Stats
2013 Schedule


After searching WVU's chemistry labs for the entire week, I've been unable to find a device that measures that quality in a football team. Building that rapport, from learning West Virginia history to emphasizing team over self has been job one for Dana Holgorsen since the pitiful effort put forth by the entire program in the Pinstripe Bowl, and it appears that he has done about everything he can do in order to make the issues of 2012 a memory. However, there's no real way to judge that success until adversity hits. Is it likely to occur in this game? Probably not, but an early turnover, a bust on defense or a freak play that puts William and Mary on top could provide at least a glimpse of West Virginia's unity. Mountaineer fans shouldn't be wishing for that, of course, but might not a week one testing moment help in preparing for the week two Big 12 opener? Or is this train of thought just a sign that I've been waiting far too long for football season?

In any event, if you have such a device, send it to me and I'll pay the postage if it works.

* * *

Don't share this item with your Marshall friends. Or, on second thought, go ahead. It might get their dander up.

The run-up to this season has been so much more pleasurable than the last seven, and it's a direct result of not having the Herd on the schedule. I'm sure that will elicit the usual bleatings from the southwest corner of the state, but it's not because WVU is "afraid" or any other such Herd droppings. It's more due to the fact that we don't have to listen to the litany of excuses, explanations and vitriol emanating from the Huntington campus. We've actually been able to talk football this year without being distracted.

* * *

I'm thinking William and Mary might be pretty strong defensively up the middle. Granted, that's more of a baseball thing that a football one, but with George Beerhalter manning a defensive tackle spot, preseason all-conference pick Luke Rhodes stacking at linebacker and a pair of veteran safeties in Ivan Tagoe and Jerome Couplin, the Tribe doesn't figure to get flustered if the adversity we discussed earlier rains on their side of the ball. Add in all of the question marks on West Virginia's offense, and would it really be a surprise to see a couple of Mountaineer three and outs early on?

The thing I'd like to see from the WVU offense is explosive plays. Even if it has a shaky start, I'd expect WVU would be able to move the ball methodically down the field at some points during the game. But it would certainly ease my mind (and probably those of the other 50,000 or so fans in attendance), to see a few big gainers mixed in there too.


In no way can the comparison be made that William and Mary's skill players stack up to West Virginia, but that doesn't mean the Tribe doesn't have guys that can hurt the Mountaineers. Running back Keith McBride averaged 5.0 yards per game in 2012, and even given the level of competition that

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W&M faced, that's a solid stat. West Virginia, despite its defensive shortcomings against the pass a year ago, is still focused on stopping the run first, and making its foe one-dimensional. That's a point that defensive coordinator Keith Patterson made time and again throughout spring and fall practice, so yards per carry, on the part of both McBride and the entire offense, is our number of choice to eyeball this week. Stopping, or at least slowing, the pass will be tested more thoroughly in later weeks -- this game is a chance for the WVU defensive front to set a tone for the season. And as it will be facing a William and Mary interior line with a combined 56 career starts, it should get a challenge.


It might be an old mainstay, or an esoteric microbrew. But the beers I'll be listing throughout the season are there for a reason, and maybe it should be on yours too.

The inaugural brew on the list is Budweiser. Yep, Bud. The reason for that is a simple one -- it's the only beer I ever drink at Mario's Fishbowl in Morgantown. When I was in school, there were just two choices, and as light beer is about as appealing to me as a pet cat, Bud was the choice. So, it's a tradition, and probably more of a salute to Mario's than a nod to the overall quality of Bud. However, the King of Beers isn't awful, and it certainly beats the I.C. Light, Goebel and some of the other swill that were mainstays on campus. I'll never have anything else when I roll through the Fisbowl door.

"This is the famous Budweiser beer. We know of no brand produced by any other brewer which costs so much to brew and age. Our exclusive Beechwood Aging produces a taste, a smoothness and a drinkability you will find in no other beer at any price."


A bit of drama involving the redshirting and subsequent departure of running back Andrew Buie, along with the drawn-out (and to me, a bit boring) quarterback duel has hidden a point of discussion that should have gotten more attention -- the return of Ivan McCartney.

After WVU coaches took multiple opportunities to rip his inconsistent work habits in both the classroom and on the practice field in 2012, McCartney's departure didn't come as a huge surprise -- but his return did. West Virginia's coaches studiously avoided talking about him or commenting on his progress throughout the fall, but clearly, that was part smokescreen and part uniform approach. Apparently, it worked, as McCartney emerged from camp at the top of the depth chart at one of the outside receiver spots. Now that he's there, what will he do with it?

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