Stew Review

West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart remains puzzled over WVU's inability to get out of the gate in 2008, but he noted West Virginia had some good all-around performances on Saturday

For the second straight game, it was a tale of two halves for the Mountaineer football team. Connecticut took a 13-7 lead into halftime and seemed to be controlling the pace of the game behind running back Donald Brown, but in the second half the Mountaineers shut out the Huskies and scored 28 unanswered points to secure their fist road victory of the year.

The Mountaineers were able to stifle Brown, the nation's leading rusher, in the second half, holding him to just five yards in the final 30 minutes. That left him with a total of 82 yards on 19 carries, far short of what the Huskies needed for victory. Despite his team's dominant second half, however, Mountaineers head coach Bill Stewart had high praise for Connecticut.

"We got hit and we got hit hard. It was a hard fought win and we were very fortunate to come out of there with a win. I credit the coaching staff and the players of Connecticut for playing a great game," said Stewart, following his usual script of respect for the opposition.

Patrick White was the offensive player of the week in the Big East as he threw for 121 yards and one touchdown while also rushing for 109 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. White also surpasses 4,000 yards rushing for his career as well as 5,000 yards passing.

"I am not normally concerned with statistics but this is a great honor for Pat and he played a great game on Sunday," Stewart noted.

Stewart also spoke about the performance of Jock Sanders. The multi-purpose back had three catches for 21 yards and one touchdown while also rushing for 45 yards on seven carries and two additional scores.

"He is very athletic but he also provides us with a lot of versatility because he can line up in the slot and as the tailback in the I which allows us to substitute less. That really helps our offense," Stewart said.

While the offense played well in the second half it was the defense that was able to not only hold down Brown, but also keep the Huskies off the scoreboard entirely. The defense was also able to force five turnovers (four in the second half) including two interceptions by cornerback Brandon Hogan. Linebacker Mortty Ivy was named the Big East defensive player of the week after racking up 10 tackles and one interception in the game.

"Our defense has been great all year long and they really played well in the second half," Stewart observed. "Jeff Casteel has been a godsend. I was the happiest guy in Morgantown when I found out that he and coach Bill Kirelawich were going to stay."

Stewart added that because those two coaches stayed, the defense has had more stability and a smoother transition in 2008, despite having to replace eight starters.

Up next is another rugged defensive test for WVU, when the senior-dominated Cincinnati Bearcats visit West Virginia for a Saturday night affair. UC has battled through the loss of two quarterbacks but remained right in the chase for a league title.

"For Cincinnati to deal with all of the injuries they have had and to not only stay in the hunt but also to stay a top of the Big East they deserve a lot of credit," Stewart said, adding that the Mountaineers were fortunate to beat Cincinnati last season and that this season will be just as difficult of a challenge.

Stewart once again reiterated that his team is trying to take the season one game at a time and to not look ahead. It's a mantra all coaches invoke, but only because it's true. West Virginia is still trying to figure out a way to play with high efficiency for an entire game, and can't count any contest as a sure win.

"One of the worst things that could have happened to our team was to be ranked on Sunday, because our young guys do not need to be reminded how good they are," Stewart said forcefully. "We just need to play one game at a time."


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