Royal Review: Rutgers

While rained all day Friday and through halftime on Saturday, you wouldn't have known it by watching WVU. The Mountaineers were on fire. The following are my Royal 10 Views of the weekend:

10. Veni, vidi, vici -- Latin for I came, I saw, I conquered – was WVU's theme of the weekend. As Julius Caesar's famous line proclaimed the totality of his victory over Pharnaces II of Pontus in the Battle of Zela in Zile and served to remind the senate of his power, likewise, West Virginia's 31-3 victory over Rutgers made a huge statement to the college football world. It also served to remind West Virginia fans how good this team can be when everyone is pulling The Rope.

9. If West Virginia players think the trenches are tough in college football, maybe they should try sitting on the aisle directly between the West Virginia section and opposing home team section. It can be brutal. This game had its classic moments in the stands. One fan Rutgers in particular was comical, as he'd turn to our section and let us know how "classy" we were, and then follow up his pronouncements by flipping the bird.

That being said, there were many gracious Rutgers fans that really appreciated West Virginia, in that year-in-year-out we represent the Big East well. They thought the way the West Virginia fans traveled and supported their team was fantastic.

8. If I had to rank Big East road games in terms of enjoyable trips it would go like this:

5. Syracuse (the breakfast at Cosmos on Marshall St. is the best, and Syracuse has a nice campus)

4. South Florida (Buccaneer Stadium and the weather)

3. Cincinnati (I lived in Cincinnati for seven years as a youngster and it's home to the Cincinnati Bengals & Reds)

2. Rutgers (it is the Birthplace of College Football and it is a great night to have dinner at the Il Cortile in New York City's Little Italy on a Friday night followed by dessert at Ferrrera's)

1. Pitt (it after all is the Backyard Brawl).

7. Congratulations to Connecticut in their fine win over South Florida. How many Mountaineer fans had the UConn game circled in August as a big one on the schedule?

6. The West Virginia team should certainly be proud of this win, but perhaps they should have a small slice of Bill Belichick's (New England Patriot Head Coach) famous "Humble Pie." Rutgers dropped several balls that normally would have been caught. Perhaps the weather had something to do with it? In third down efficiencies, rushing yards and time of possession, it wouldn't lead you to believe that the final score was 31-3.

5. The shotgun snap between Pat White and Mike Dent continues to be a concern. Mike's snaps aren't always a thing of beauty, but it appears that even on some good snaps that Pat is trying to juggle the ball into his grip position. It doesn't always look like he is able to do that cleanly. When the snap from center to Pat's final grip position isn't clean it has thrown off the timing of plays, particularly passes. I don't recall Pat having the same problems with Dan Mozes last year.

4. I love it when Owen Schmitt catches the ball out of the backfield and rumbles downfield, and then right when you think he is going to lower the boom on a poor defender, he hurdles the tackler and gallops for additional yardage.

3. West Virginia was 11-18 on third down conversions. You really could feel it in the stands, as it was the proverbial death by a thousand cuts. The best example came in the third quarter, when it was third and 13 on West Virginia's own 22-yard line, Pat White connected with Steve Slaton for a short pass which Steve turned into a 51-yard gain, and the Rutgers fans looked like someone had punched them in the solar plexus.

2. In the beginning of the year there was a lot of discussion concerning White and Slaton's Heisman Trophy candidacies, and I must admit that I was pretty excited about the possibility. After the South Florida game, they both dropped out of the national discussion. Based upon the Rutgers game ESPN mentioned that Pat White might be back in the mix. My position has now changed 180 degrees, as I really don't want to hear about it. It is all about winning. Watching the players enjoying themselves in this big win was pretty cool. Having to worry each week whether Pat and Steve put up the stats to keep them in contention really doesn't add to the winning formula.

1. Lastly – but most importantly -- it was another super job by the defense. Ray Rice gained the quietest 142 yards that I can ever remember. When you hold a good team like Rutgers to three points and 314 total yards total offense on the road, well, you've had a very good day at the office.

Gang, we are one victory closer to playing on January 7th in New Orleans. See you in Morgantown next Thursday.

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