Stew Review: Rutgers

Despite numerous miscues, head coach Bill Stewart isn't complaining about West Virginia's 24-17 win over Rutgers.

Following Sunday morning's normal game review process, Stewart said that the win against Rutgers may not have been as convincing as he would have liked but he certainly isn't complaining.

"I wish we could have scored probably one more and allowed Rutgers to score one less but no matter how you look at it a win is a win and I'm not complaining," Stewart said on Sunday. Stewart saw a lot of things that he liked during the game on Sunday, including the running game. The Mountaineers did a good job of controlling the clock during the game against Rutgers by maintaining possession for just under 35 minutes compared to just 25 minutes for Rutgers. WVU was well under its 300+ rushing mark of the past two weeks, but still managed 175 yards on the ground.

Stewart also praised the play of quarterback Pat White, who played an efficient game through three quarters. White was 12-17 passing for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 59 yards before leaving the game with a head injury.

Stewart noted that White was again held out of the game for precautionary reasons. That's standard practice any time a player sustains any violent hit to the head.

"He has not been diagnosed with a concussion but he was a little foggy on the sidelines yesterday so we thought it was best to hold him out," Stewart said.

Stewart said that after the game he spoke with White's brother Coley White, and his parents every hour to make sure that he was feeling okay.

"I didn't speak with Pat directly because he hears my voice enough during the week but I wanted to make sure that everything was fine," Stewart said.

Stewart was also pleased with the play of his offensive line especially in pass protection.

"Rutgers ran a lot of twists and things like that up front and I thought the offensive line did a good job of picking it up," Stewart said.

White rarely had a defender in his face while throwing and was able to stand in the pocket and deliver most of his throws. (Jarrett Brown, who played the fourth quarter, attempted just two passes.) Stewart also said that the offensive line was very close to springing Noel Devine for some big runs.

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Stewart was pleased with the play of the defensive line and specifically mentioned Chris Neild and Scooter Berry. Neild and Berry were big reasons why the Mountaineers were able to hold the Rutgers offense to just 72 yards rushing on 26 attempts. Stewart also mentioned Anthony Leonard, who played in place of Reed Williams at middle linebacker. Leonard led the team in tackles with nine.

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Stewart spent some time explaining his decision to squib kick the kickoff before the end of the first half.

"I will always squib the ball in that situation because I don't want to allow them to catch the ball in the air and score a touchdown, I would rather make the offense go 50 or 60 yards," Stewart said. Stewart cited the Maryland game a couple years ago in which Maryland had cut their deficit to 14 points and were kicking the ball off. WVU's Darius Reynaud caught the ball in the air and returned it 86 yards for a touchdown.

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Stewart also briefly gave his initial impressions of Syracuse.

"They had a tremendous effort game against Pitt and with two weeks to prepare for us they will be another challenge for us," Stewart said. He went on to say that his team will prepare for Syracuse like any other opponent and for the next week their entire focus will be on the Orange.

Although the Orange have only a win over Northeastern on their record, they did play reasonably well against Pitt. Only 18 fourth quarter points against the Panthers kept them from gaining their first Big East win. Given West Virginia's inconsistent performance to date, it cannot afford to look past Syracuse. As Stewart put it, "We're not world beaters yet."

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