The Mountaineers certainly had the chance to score more points, but numerous mistakes kept the home team from denting the scoreboard more often. Penalties missed third downs and two missed field goals all conspired to limit WVU to its lowest point total of the season.
Turning to this week's contest against 1AA James Madison, Rodriguez plans to use a pair of recent games as object lessons to guard against overconfidence.
We'll definitely point out the Navy-Mississippi State and New Hampshire-Rutgers games this week," Rodriguez noted of two contests where the "name" schools suffered losses. There's less separation than there used to be between teams. The 1AA teams get a lot of 1A transfers too, so I think the talent level has increased tremendously on that level."
Asked about close losses in games that occurred prior to his tenure, Rodriguez declined to comment. However, he did note that he was pleased with the way this year's squad reacted when faced with its first deficit of the year.
"Each individual team is different; the chemistry, the leadership and how they respond to adversity. I thought we reacted well to getting behind. I didn't see any panic among the guys. Having veterans at key positions like quarterback and along the offensive line helps."
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On the game winning play, WVU called a dummy play, and then waited to see what defense the Terrapins were in. The play call checked off to the slant route that had been completed once before during the game, and Rasheed Marshall looked off the receiver before making the throw. Keen eyed observers may also have noticed that the slot receiver didn't run a route – he simply backed off the line of scrimmage to make room for Chris Henry, lined up wide, to slant inside for the reception.
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Rodriguez was still unhappy with his team's third down play, despite a 50% conversion rate.
"There were a couple of third and shorts we didn't execute well, then a couple of third and longs that we got but had penalties. I'd still like to have better than 9 for 18."
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Rodriguez and the coaching staff plans to handle the team's high ranking (currently number six) by ignoring it.
"Probably by not paying much attention to it," the Grant Town, W. Va. native said of his strategy. "There are a whole lot of great teams that are in front of us and behind us. It's nice to be ranked. It gives good attention to the program, but I can't tell whether we're better than a lot of teams right now."
Rodriguez, who votes in the coaches' poll, uses the help of an assistant to track scores and games in order to get his vote in by the Sunday 11:00 a.m. deadline.
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Rodriguez on various players:
"I don't think Kay Jay had the same burst, but he ran physical and ran hard. I didn't know he was going to get 32 carries, but he was no worse for wear. It was a physical game, but we came out ok."
"Scott Gyorko stepped up too soon to make a block and ran into the snap. I've never seen it before, and I hope I never see it again. Phil Brady made a heads up play when he ran up and knocked it out of bounds so they didn't scoop it and score."
"I thought Miquelle Henderson played very well. We are going to talk about other receivers and maybe move some receivers around, because we have to get some production from the other side."
"Ben Lynch didn't have as much strength in his shoulder as he would have liked, but he hung in there. He should be better this week. Jeff Berk and Gyorko both should be ok. Erick Phillips will be tested again on Wednesday."