Valley Vistas - Syracuse

No one is going to confuse Rasheed Marshall with Dan Marino, but there is no denying his ability to make things happen.

Showing an improved, if not totally restored passing touch, Rasheed led WVU to a 34-7 trouncing of the Syracuse Orangemen at Mountaineer Field. On a slick, rain soaked field that encouraged the run, WVU once again show their ability to play power football as well as the spread attack. Rasheed took more snaps from under center than probably any game this season, and was effective in guiding his team down the field from the onset.

In this game, there were a lot of peaks and not many valleys, but enough to give even the most die-hard fan pause with the Hurricanes blowing in on the horizon.

Peaks:

* Superbacks - Avon and Quincy once again made their case that the best 1-2 back tandem in college football may not reside in Blacksburg, VA.

Although the numbers weren't of ECU level, they showed that they could tough out the hard yards. Make no mistake, as bad as SU is this year, that is still a big, strong front wall that West Virginia was trying to run on, and run on them they did.

* "O" line - It goes without saying that the double barrel won't fire if the guys up front aren't knocking hats, and they did a good job of getting people off the ball. This group has really gelled into a force, and it bodes well for the rest of the season.

* Rasheed - While I doubt anything less than a 400 yd. passing day would silence many of his critics, Marshall has shown that, even as a sophomore, he has the intelligence and poise to command this system.

He doesn't make a lot of mistakes, he makes good choices in the passing game, and he can kill a team with his running ability. We also found out this week that Rasheed had been wearing a splint on his pinkie, which he discarded for this game, and he showed improved passing accuracy.

* "D" - Okay, I'm a believer. This is a GOOD defense. Not great, yet, but good. Yes, I know the caliber of teams we have played recently, but that only means you should win, not that you should dominate - and the last two games, these guys have dominated.

Valleys:

* Having just praised the defense, I have to say that this game could have been a lot closer if Anderson had not missed on several receivers and several balls had been dropped. The coverage, it seems to me, is still too soft. If a player catches a ball and gets hit, that's one thing, but if he catches the ball and can turn up field before being hit, that is too soft.

* Yes, I wished we pass more too. And yes, it seems like the middle is there for the taking with the tight ends and backs. However, if a team does not take away the run, then you run. I understand the reasoning there. However, I still think we are heading into a stretch of games where we will wish we had worked more on the passing game.

* Since everyone was talking about the 1992 game, it seems the officials got into the spirit of the thing and decided to recreate the penalty calling from that game this week as well. What can one say but, "Atrocious"?

There are a few other nitpicking things - I wished we had worked the option more this week, I wish Embick had gotten the last couple of series, etc. However, this is a team that has had our number the last few years. I don't recall them letting up on us when we were down, so I intend to enjoy this victory until Wednesday. Then we can start worrying about Miami.

We've talked a lot about 1992 this week, but the Miami game has me flashing back even further, a game that WVU had no chance to win - questions about their quarterback, a lot of uncertainties. But what happened on the field that day in 1982 in Norman, Oklahoma, will live with Mountaineer fans forever.

Maybe, just maybe, we can make a memory to add to that this weekend.


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