Jimbo: And I'm Jimbo.
Duke: I saw many emails this past week asking if the game was going to be televised. Well it was a good thing that this game wasn't televised nationally. The voters will see one thing, "West Virginia 42 – Mississippi State 14."
Why say this as the offensive and defense played a whale of a game? The stingy Bulldog defense noted for stopping the run couldn't handle the powerful Mountaineer running game as Steve Slaton, Pat White, Owen Schmitt, and Darius Reynaud all found the holes opened by the offensive line. The defense was likewise impressive as they held Mississippi State to 56 yards rushing. While WVU yielded 250 yards passing many of those plays came on busted plays where the MSU quarterbacks simply made a nice play.
The reason I'm glad the game wasn't televised was the sloppy play of the Mountaineer defense. It kept the MSU drives alive with 132 yards of penalties, including six personal foul calls. Jimbo, what is your read on the penalties which continue week after week – overzealousness or character issues?
Jimbo: You are not pulling me into this discussion. You just can't tell what is happening on the field, and you really don't know the intent of the kids. I can only say that by reading Coach Rodriguez's reactions he wasn't happy camper. Practice should be interesting this week. Maybe running "Law School Hill" on Monday would soothe everyone's emotions? I will add one thing – Coach Rodriguez preaches toughness and intensity as much as any coach in American and I believe that you reach a point where kids may very well cross the line due to overzealousness and trying too hard.
Addressing the penalties from purely a football point of view, like you said Duke, we kept their drives alive. This score should have been in 56-7 neighborhood. We dominated every phase of the game. The frustrating thing was several times we had MSU pinned back, but they escaped because of the automatic first downs. In almost every case we would have received the ball with excellent field position.
For a team that hadn't registered a sack all year, we looked like the Chicago Bears' defense. We had constant pressure on their quarterbacks. Johnny Dingle had a break out game, and don't forget this effort for the most part didn't include defensive lineman Keilen Dykes as he missed a majority of the game with a hand injury. It was great to finally see the young Doug Slavonic on the field.
Duke: Listening to the Mississippi State post game broadcast, they made an observation which is very telling, "When you win eight games in row on the road and especially when you get a win on the road against an SEC school you have accomplished something." Granted this wasn't against Florida or LSU, but it was a good win.
Jimbo: Duke, that is exactly my point from last week after the East Carolina win. East Carolina came back and won a nice game against Virginia. Sometimes we expect Steve Slaton or Pat White to break off 50-yard runs on every carry and it just isn't going to happen. The season is a marathon and you just need keep fighting and scratching for each win and move on to the next game.
Duke: Let's open some mail from our fans. Trivia Boy grab a question from the Mail Bag.
Trivia Boy: Teams have broken out old helmets this year for one game such as Georgia Tech ( which sported their 1969-1971 model) and Florida (1966). Would you like to see West Virginia try this?
Jimbo: Definitely - I would love to start a tradition of wearing one special uniform and one special helmet each year. The winners of the Iron Mountaineer Award or the seniors could vote on which era to choose from for the uniforms. I always thought gold jerseys would be pretty cool, but I got a glimpse of those this past weekend with California and the gold jerseys don't work.
Duke: I would like to say don't mess with the helmet, but my first West Virginia game was my freshman year in 1982 and I never saw the white or gold helmets with the state emblem in live action so, yes, it would be enjoyable to do this for one game. My only caution would be not to pull it out for a big game as it can become a distraction. Notre Dame has used their green jerseys for some big games and lost.
Duke: Trivia Boy, what else do you have today?
Trivia Boy: Easy one guys: what members of Coach Rodriguez's original coaching staff are still on this staff?
Duke: Now for the Big Finish!
Duke: In Kevin DiGregorio's "From the Stands" column in the print edition of the Blue & Gold News, the University's fund-raising drive to outfit the band in new uniforms was called into question. I, along with everyone I know, fully support this effort. West Virginia University is an institution of limited resources - just ask our fine professors. Our University is not a bottomless pit of cash - just ask the Rifle Team. Our athletic department tries its very best to be self-sufficient. So what is wrong with "The Pride" calling on fans who want to contribute to the cause? Absolutely Nothing. "The Pride" shouldn't have to defend itself on this effort, in fact, Jay Drury and team should be applauded for their hard work.
Jimbo: The Mississippi State University campus was as beautiful as advertised. The campus was laid out spaciously, it was nicely groomed, and the Bulldog faithful really knew how to tailgate. We were warned early by folks from the area that the MSU fans could be mean-spirited, but we didn't sense this at any time as we were invited to numerous tailgates as we passed by the Bulldog tents heading toward the stadium. My only disappointment was that MSU couldn't sell out the stadium. The reported attendance was 40,377, but looking at the upper decks it was pretty sparse. Lastly, I must say the MSU cowbells are overrated. MSU is not permitted by SEC rules to ring the bells during SEC games so we were expected them to be in full force Saturday – they were ringing, but they just were not very loud.
Duke: I don't understand the purpose of the new NCAA rule that allows a player to transfer to another school - without sitting out a year - if he has graduated. ESPN was discussing the rule last weekend on its pre-game show. Kirk Herbstreit for one also didn't understand the purpose and thought the rule should be abolished.
Trivia Boy: Good Jimbo, but you missed Coach Herb Hand. I'd say Coach Rodriquez has done a nice job keeping his staff. You might also add in Bill Kirelawich, who was a member of the academic support staff from the start before rejoining the on-field staff. That's a tricky one.
Jimbo: Darn it, how did I miss Coach Hand? Moving on to next week, the longest winning streak in Syracuse-West Virginia is five games. Syracuse beat West Virginia from 1977 through 1981. West Virginia has now beaten Syracuse four consecutive times and can tie that mark with a victory next week. So let's get the fifth win in row against Syracuse and go 1-0 one more time!