WVU - UTC Game Preview

WVU opens the 2002 season against 1-AA opponent University Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Series: First Meeting

The Mountaineers are only 5-6-1 in season openers since 1990. WVU is 4-3-1 in home openers during the same time span.

Mocs to watch:
UTC – QB Ryan McCann, RB Charles McNeill, WR Jason Jones, LB Josh Cain, OL, Aaron Deal.

WVU - Anthony Mims (Hamstring) Out, Jahmile Addae (Head) Probable, Phil Braxton (Leg) Doubtful.

UTC – None reported

Game outlook:

Game Info
WVU 0-0, 0-0
Tenn-Chat 0-0, 0-0
Sat. 8/31 6:00 p.m.
Moutaineer Field
Series: First Meeting
TV: None
Line: No Line
Stats & Trends
WVU offense vs. UTC defense
The 2001 version of the Mountaineer offense took its lumps, but the 2002 version comes in with more experience and confidence in Rich Rodriguez's spread offense. With a solid offensive line, one of the nations top running backs in Avon Cobourne, a speedy group of receivers and QB Rasheed Marshall at the helm, the Mocs defense could be in for a long day. The Mocs return 8 starters on a defense that gave up 30.7 pts and 350 yards per game last year. Starting middle linebacker Josh Cain, UTC's best defender, will be in for a long day as he tries to keep up with Cobourne and the rest of the Mountaineer position players.
Advantage : West Virginia

WVU defense vs. UTC offense
Will the Mountaineers be able to stop the run in 2002? That question may not be answered on Saturday but with the new defensive scheme (3-3 stack) and a new attitude among the coaches and players the Mountaineers will shut down the Mocs running game and force UCLA transfer Ryan McCann to go to the air early and often. Facing the 3-3 stack defense will not be anything new to the Mocs. Last year UTC faced the defense used by The Citadel only to lose 20-17 in OT. Ryan McCann started 4 games for UCLA and is one of the better QB's that WVU will face all year but he will soon find out that UTC offensive line lacks the High School All Americans of UCLA's O-line. David Upchurch will dominate UTC's offensive line and allow Grant Wiley and Company to reek havoc in the Mocs backfield.
Advantage: West Virginia

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Stadium Seating
WVU special teams vs. UTC special teams
Yet again, the Mountaineers will hold a decided advantage over the Mocs on special teams. Mark Fazzolari enters the season as one of the Big East's top punters but will not see as much action on Saturday as Todd James, the Mountaineers strong-legged kicker. James will handle field goals and kickoffs. WVU's also offers a plethora of solid return men so don't be surprised if the Mountaineers make a big play on a return. In 2001, the Mocs struggled on special teams making only 9-17 field goals while missing 6 extra points and giving up over 12 yards per punt return. While those numbers are below average, they should not come into play on Saturday. Special teams will not decide this game.
Advantage : West Virginia

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Avon Cobourne
On Defense: David Upchurch

Stat of the week:

Under Rich Rodriguez, the Mountaineers are 2-0 against non-conference teams at Mountaineer Field.

It's the start of a new season for a team that has a new attitued with much to prove. The Mocs will pick up a nice check while providing the Mountaineers with a warm-up game for the Wisconsin Badgers. WVU will jump to a quick lead which will turn into quality playing time for back-ups in the second half.

WVU 56 - UTC Mocs 10

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