When: 9/11, 6:00pm
Stadium: Citrus Bowl
Last Week: ECU
Returning Starters: 16
Returning Starters: 17
Last Meeting: 2003
2-0? NO NO NO
WVU has never started 2-0 under Rich Rodriguez. That modest goal might not sound like much, but it would represent another milestone in the building of the Mountaineer program. Of course, a much larger one would follow in week three, but we're under Coach Rod's orders to take ‘em one at a time.
BETTER THAN OH-FER
Of course, that 2-0 mark isn't a given, but the Golden Knights will be bucking a big string of zeroes in their attempt to hang a loss on the visiting Mountaineers. UCF is 0-3 at home and 0-14 overall in games against Top 25 teams. UCF's closest bid for victory came against Georgia in 1999, when the Golden Knights dropped a 24-23 decision.
UCF is also 0-7 lifetime against Big East teams, including three losses to the Virtual Traitors from Blacksburg.
REST? I DO THAT ON SUNDAY, COACH
Any talk of trying to rest Adam Jones by not putting him on one of the kick return teams was hopefully silenced for good when he took an ECU punt and returned in 76 yards for a touchdown in Week One. Pacman is simply too good, in too many ways, to keep off the field.
Just like his namesake, which had spin-off hits like SuperPacman and Ms. Pacman, Jones delivers excitement in a number of different ways. He has now scored a touchdown via fumble return, interception return, kickoff return and punt return during his stellar career, and the only surprise will be if he doesn't add to his total this year.
Against ECU, the multitalented Atlanta native returned four punts for 96 yards, a kickoff for 36 yards, and had four tackles and a pass breakup on defense. (He should have been credited for two, but the stat crew missed one.) In his spare time, Jones was reportedly sighted selling programs and providing entertainment at tailgates. While there will probably be a very spirited battle among WVU's offensive stars for the team MVP, we might have to make room for at least one defensive candidate.
UCF's Mike Walker is playing both ways (at defensive back and wide receiver) for the Golden Knights in 2004, and at some point Jones might do the same.
The potential of Central Florida, both athletically and academically, might best be measured by its exponential growth over the past two decades. In 1980, UCF had 13,000 students. Twenty-four years later, UCF claims 44,000 undergraduates, making it the second largest school in the state behind the University of Florida. The school has added 11,000 students in the past four years alone.
PRODUCTION, NOT HYPE
With zero fanfare or coverage from any of the breathless media who fawned over lesser achievements, WVU quarterback Rasheed Marshall moved past Mike Vick in Big East career quarterback rushing yards last week. Marshall now has 1,220 rushing yards for his career, outdistancing the Techster's 1,197. Of course, since he's not a media darling, he doesn't get much pub for the achievement.
And just in case you think that's a fluky stat, chew on this. With anything approaching a normal game on Saturday, Rasheed will move into fifth place on the all-time WVU total offense list. He needs just 130 yards to pass Avon Cobourne, who is the only non-quarterback in the top 10.
THE RAIN IN SPAIN…ER…THE NAME OF THE GAME IS TO CONTAIN
WVU did a respectable job with its pass rush last week against ECU, but one deficiency was in making tackles against the Pirates' slippery quarterback. James Pinkney appeared to be trapped on more than one occasion, but broke tackles or found gaps to slip away and turn sacks into positive plays, or at least avoid a big negative yardage number.
The Mountaineers will again be facing a mobile quarterback in Steven Moffett, who also has good size at six-feet three-inches tall and more than 200 pounds. WVU's pass rushers have no doubt been working again on keeping containment, but also have to concentrate on finishing plays and making tackles.
OK, THIS IS GETTING SCARY
Over the past couple of seasons, it seems like there's one stat or record each week that hovers around the .500 mark. I thought that quirk had run its course, but apparently not. So, for all you calculus and statistics majors out there, a question. Is this a normal occurrence? Or is something freaky going on? Having just ridden the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney MGM Studios several times, I'm leaning toward the latter.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. This week's almost even number: Head coach Rich Rodriguez has the chance to even his non-conference record at WVU to 9-9.
OH, AND THANKS To the entire BGN staff and volunteer crew for keeping the site running while I took the family to Disney for a few days. Andy, Chris, Deuce and the Queen - I appreciate it! Of course, if WVU loses, I'll never be able to let you have the reins again.