Bits and Bytes - Rutgers

We need room in the turn as we prepare for the Rutgers road trip, so we clean out the nooks and crannies with a few final thoughts on the month's only game away from home.


At some point in the preseason, I expressed concern over the kickoff return team, which lost career yardage and touchdown leader Shawn Terry to graduation.

Well, Phil Braxton has eased those concerns greatly. While he hasn't taken a kickoff to the house yet, he is averaging 28 yards per return, good for tenth place nationally. It's only a matter of time before he goes the distance.


Before the season, many people were concerned about WVU's time of possession. And that was a valid concern.
Game Info
WVU 0-0, 3-2
RU 0-1, 1-4
Sat. 10/12 3:00 pm
Rutgers Stadium
Series: WVU 23-4-2
TV: Comcast SportsNet
BCS: WVU-63 - RU-147
Line:WVU -14
Stats & Trends
West Virginia's no huddle offense often causes shortened possession for the Mountaineer attack, which was viewed as a problem for the defense. Leave the defenders out there too long, and they'll get tired.

After five games, that fear hasn't played out. WVU is averaging 32:15 of possession per game - a four-plus minute advantage over their opponents.

Unfortunately, it's what you do with the ball that counts, not simply how long you have it. Maryland rang up 48 points in just 24:43 of last Saturday.

Like many stats, time of possession can be a good indicator of the way a game is playing out, but sometimes it gets a bit overrated.


Most everone knows that James Gandolfini, who plays mobster Tony Soprano on the HBO series "The Sopranos" is a Rutgers graduate and fan who supports his school through television ads for Rutgers football.

My thought? If it was Tony Soprano supporting the school, there'd be more than a few whacks around the football program.


This is the first time since 1891 that Rutgers will play more than 11 regular season games.


Avon Cobourne has another record in his sights this week. With 25 yards combined rushing and receiving, the super senior will become WVU's career All-Purpose yardage leader. He trails current leader Amos Zereoue's 4,628 yards.

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After that record falls, Avon will be chasing the career rushing touchdown mark (he has 33, Ira Rodgers has 42).

The record for career receptions by a running back is probably out of reach, however. Avon has 51, and all-time leader Tom Gray has 73. Cobourne would have to average slightly better than 3 receptions per game to catch Gray.


WVU fans are in the uncomfortable position of cheering for Notre Dame now. Why? Because the Irish, if they don't qualify for the BCS pool, will take one of the Big East's bowl slots.

With the Mountaineers vying for a bowl, they coiuld get left out, even at 6-6, if the Irish don't qualify for one of the top eight BCS slots.

WVU could also be helped if wither Virginia Tech or Miami, both currently undefeated, stay that way until they face off at season's end. It that occurs, the loser of that game would probably qualify for a BCS at large spot, which again would free up a lower tier bowl for the rest of the conference.

Only problem is, I'm not sure if I cna hold my nose long enough to cheer for Notre Dame, Virginia Tech AND Miami at the same time. Yuck.

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