Sat 9/24/05 Noon
Milan Puskar Stadium
Poll Rank: NR
Rtn Lettermen: 41
Rtn Starters: 17
Poll Rank: NR
Wake Forest 34-44
Rtn Lettermen: 47
Rtn Starters: 13
Last Meeting: 2004
LO-WERING THE BOOM
Senior bandit Mike Lorello needs just six tackles against the Pirates to reach the 200 mark for his career. His next tackle for a loss will vault him past Henry Slay and Darryl Talley into seventh place on the all-time list. His career total stands at 27.5 -- just one-half a stop shy of that pair.
Lorello is one of the best form tacklers the Mountaineers have fielded in a long time. It's rare when he has the chance to make a stop and doesn't complete it – proving that you don't have to be 6-3 and 230 pounds to be an outstanding defender.
West Virginia made a two-man adjustment to its offensive line last week, but it was nothing compared to what East Carolina did against Wake Forest. While WVU moved Dan Mozes to center and inserted John Bradshaw at guard, the Pirate initiated a chain reaction that involved four-fifths of the starters up front.
Former tight end Guy Whimper made his first start at left tackle, which moved Eric Graham to left guard. Graham displaced Gary Freeman, who moved to center, and that move in turn bumped Matt Butler over to right guard. Only Chris Sellers remained in his spot at right tackle. It will be interesting to see if the Pirates maintain that new look this week against the Mountaineers.
GETTING OFF TO A GOOD START
Getting good yardage on first down is one of the biggest keys to sustaining drives, and both teams come into Saturday's matchup with good numbers in that regard. West Virginia has produced a very solid average of 4.5 yards per play on first down, which has enabled the Mountaineers to run the ball on many second and third down situations as well. That, in turn, has allowed WVU to dominate time of possession, run 55 more plays than its opponents, and generally control all three of its games to date.
ECU 1-1, 0-0
|Sat 9/24/05 Noon|
|Series: WVU 14-2|
|TV: Big East|
|BCS: WVU-23 ECU-98|
|Line: WVU -21|
|Stats & Trends|
WVU's top two offensive performances against the Pirates have come on ECU's most recent two visits to Morgantown. West Virginia racked up 621 yards last year in a 56-23 win, and totaled 569 yards in 2002's 37-17 win. The third best? WVU's 2003 visit to Greenville, when the offense piled up 555 yards in a 48-7 rout. The Mountaineers obviously had a hand in the quick departure of John Thompson from the ECU athletic staff.
WVU also owns the top two all-time rushing performances by ECU opponents. The Mountaineers rumbled for 536 yards on the ground in the 2002 win, and had 478 last year.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS
Everyone is familiar with the job sharing that occurs across the WVU offensive and defensive units, but it also extends to the punt return team. Already this year, three players (Anthony Mims, Vaughn Rivers and Antonio Lewis) have returned punts.
|ECU Message Board||ECU Official Site|
East Carolina has forced five turnovers this year, but has not scored any points off them. The Pirates have turned the ball over just twice, allowing one touchdown.
WVU's longest run of the season is a 48-yard touchdown run by Pat White against Wofford. The Mountaineers' longest pass play of the year is also a 48-yarder, coming in the Maryland game when Adam Bednarik hit Brandon Myles. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing – I just thought it was fun.