The Mountaineers got a day full of redemption in Greenville, N.C. on Saturday.
Coming off of an agonizing loss to Wisconsin
, and needing to get some experience for a lot of youngsters, WVU got the blowout they really needed. So on a day that was perfect for some football and one that turned out pretty darned well for the Mountaineers, here are my weekly observations.
Hopefully the Rasheed bashing will subside for a while, after his 11-18, 197-yard, four touchdown performance. After his show against ECU there should be absolutely no doubt who the man is for the Mountaineers.
Quincy Wilson is an absolute warrior. He breaks at least one tackle every time he carries the ball. And it is quite entertaining to see defenders shaking their heads after he busts through tackle after tackle.
I don't know how it is really going with the running back depth. But based upon what I saw tonight, Kay Jay Harris just put in a nice audition for a lot more playing time. Not only did he smash through the entire ECU defense for a six-yard score on his first carry as a Mountaineer, he destroyed the Pirate defense for 72 yards on the very next drive. It was quite entertaining to see him turn the corner and watch a little cornerback nearly soil himself at the thought of tackling him.
Much has been made about WVU's young receivers needing to step up their game in order for the Mountaineers to make the next step in their quest towards the Big East title. Chris Henry stepped in against ECU and made a case for the receiving corps. His two catches for touchdowns were not only the first catches his career, he looked unstoppable on both of them.
Of Marshall's four touchdown passes, three of them were longer than thirty yards. The only one of the thirty yarders that wasn't a bomb into the end zone was a tremendous run with a catch by Miquelle Henderson, who leaped three defenders and stretched himself over the goal line for his only score of the day.
East Carolina sure didn't help themselves in their quest to join the Big East on Saturday. While it is certainly true that ECU has some nice facilities, their fan support was very poor here against WVU. The announced crowd of 36,066 was as inflated as John Swafford's ego. ECU has a nice new upper deck across from the press box, and anyone could have bought a ticket to get in on game day, and walked right up and sat on the 50-yard line. I am sorry, but big time programs don't leave 50-yard line seats unused against one of the biggest games on their home schedule.
Mike Lorello continues to be around the ball on every play. He led the team in tackles this week with seven, unofficially. I can tell you that it hasn't happened very often that Grant Wiley isn't at the top of the tackle chart. Lorello also had two crushing tackles on the day, and will quite probably win the Hammer in the team awards announced by the coaches today.
Also quite entertaining in Greenville was WVU's wave after wave of talented running backs. Wilson ran for 147 yards, then came Erick Phillips, who had 22 yards on four carries, then came Harris, who got 78 yards on eight carries, then Jason Colson, who scored a TD, then Hikee Johnson who got 40 yards on four carries, then came Brian Wright, who got 26 yards on five carries, and would have had 10 more and a shot at a TD, were it not for the brain cramp from permanent dog house resident Tory Johnson getting into some extra curriculars with a 48-7 lead. Nice move.
Today's press box note. Usually it is routine for writers and photographers to watch other games on the TVs in the press box to check up on scores from around the country. Evidently at ECU it is more important to watch two different weather channels, on their only two televisions.
Dowdy-Ficklen doesn't win any awards for their cuisine either. Working a game in a stadium that is less than an hour from the beach, the media was served ... chicken, macaroni-n-cheese, and canned green beans. Eastern North Carolina is known for its Bar-B-Que, and seafood. And we got none of either. Bummer.
Breakfast in Greenville on gameday was quite entertaining. It is a tradition for the BlueGoldNews.com staff to chow down at Waffle House whenever we play in a town that has one, and we were informed by the front desk of the Hilton, where we stayed, that there was a WH a mere three blocks up the street. What they didn't mention was that they were still building it, and it wasn't finished yet.
The second part of the entertaining breakfast came when we settled on eating at IHOP. Dressed in our Mountaineer garb in an opponent's home town, we usually expect to suffer a little smack talk. But we were subjected to the hands down worst trash talk that I have heard in my life. The only worse performance we witnessed on the day than this smack, was the performance of the weak smacker's football team. Ouch.
The alumni association threw a pretty nice shindig beside the stadium here before the game. The think that made it particularly impressive was that ECU's alumni association bash was located in a tent right next to WVU's, and WVU's was both better attended and better organized.