Odds, Ends And Analysis From West Virginia's 38-21 Victory Over FCS Foe Youngstown State

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia battled it's way to a surprisingly competitive 38-21 victory against Youngstown State on Saturday. Here are some of the notes and observations we took from the victory in game two.

  • Although most West Virginia fans were hoping for a dominant performance against an FCS school it isn't a complete surprise to see a little bit of a let down after beating Missouri in the home opener. This shouldn't be too much of a concern for Mountaineer fans, as there were several tightly contested games across the country on Saturday afternoon.
  • It was a tale of two halves for the Mountaineers, as they were beaten on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in the first half. The offensive line obviously changed its approach
  • and played much better in the second half, paving the way for Rushel Shell to have more success and setting up more passing opportunities for Skyler Howard.
  • There were definitely more substitutions on both sides of the ball this week. Tony Matteo and Adam Pankey alternated several series at the left guard position and there were also several substitutions along the defensive line as Jon Lewis and Adam Shuler played more snaps at each defensive end spot and Christian Brown got some time at nose tackle which gave Darrien Howard some rest. David Long also got more playing time and Xavier Preston was back on the roster after serving a suspension, which gave Justin Arndt some much needed rest.
  • Youngstown State's Derrick Rivers looked very impressive at the defensive end position. He gave the West Virginia tackles all they could handle in the first half.
  • Offensively the big story was the career game of Shelton Gibson, who finally was able to get over the top of the defense and stretch the field. Gibson finished the day with 5 receptions for 167 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Daikiel Shorts again bailed the offense out several times and made multiple catches as he almost recorded his second consecutive 100 yard receiving game. He finished his day with 93 yards and one touchdown.
  • It was good to see Ka'Raun White catch his first TD of his WVU career on a 53 yard reception. He looks like he is becoming more and more of a deep threat and gives the Mountaineers a very solid No. 3 receiver behind Shorts and Gibson.
  • West Virginia's blitz was not able to generate enough of a pass rush today and YSU was able to take advantage of the lack of pressure and complete some passes, including its 73 yard touchdown late in the first half.
  • In addition to not generating much of a pass rush, the defense looked like they struggled tackling in space.
  • It was good to see Al-Rasheed Benton pick up the defense's first interception of the year late in the game, the Mountaineers had several opportunities before that but were unable to capitalize.
  • Just like last week, the offense's opening possession in the second half was huge for momentum purposes and set the tone for the rest of the game.
  • Kennedy McKoy impressed with the first carries and a late touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. After last week it appeared it would be a two man rotation between Shell and Crafword but it looks like McKoy's role in the offense could grow in coming weeks.
  • Jovon Durante's performance in the first two games has been somewhat disappointing as he is yet to record a catch. Youngstown State also got its only interception on a pass that hit the sophomore receiver in the hands. Durante is certainly capable of stretching the field and it will be imperative for him to do so for the offense to be successful going forward.
  • Skyler Howard's rib pain didn't appear to affect his ability to throw the ball as he looked good on all of his deep passes. He did however make some questionable decisions on a few throws that were close to being intercepted by Youngstown State defenders, he will need to sure that up as the Mountaineers prepare for BYU after the bye week.
  • Mike Molina missed a field goal that capped off a disappointing first half for the Mountaineers, but it was nice to see him bounce back and hit a field goal from roughly the same spot in the third quarter. You never know how an inexperienced kicker will react to their first missed kick.

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