Mountaineer players still not satisfied with results
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - After West Virginia defeated overmatched Georgia State by 41-7 on Saturday, Mountaineer receiver Ivan McCartney was asked if he was satisfied with the 34-point victory.
He looked up and slowly shook his head.
"No," McCartney said softly. "We're better than that."
He repeated himself.
"We're better than that."
New WVU starting center Pat Eger was asked the same question.
"A win's a win," Eger said. "But when we get in [today] and see the film, we'll see areas we need to improve on. We're nowhere near where we want to be. We still have strides to make."
Agreed. To the casual fan glancing at the score, WVU convincingly defeated a team it should have convincingly defeated. Even the final stats look good. The Mountaineers had 604 total yards and the Panthers had 220.
But to those in the know, a 41-7 WVU victory earned late over that team is not a reason to boast. The Mountaineers were 40-point favorites. The reasons: Georgia State is in but its fourth season of football and first as an FBS school. When the Panthers lost to Chattanooga last week, it was the Mocs' first over an FBS school since 1984.
Quite simply, Georgia State is one of the worst teams to ever visit Mountaineer Field. And yet WVU held but a 20-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
If you want to compare, Chattanooga won 42-14 at Georgia State's Atlanta home last week. WVU won 41-7 in Morgantown on Saturday. The Panthers allowed 417 rushing yards - 6.7 yards per carry - to Chattanooga. They allowed 245 - an average of 5.8 - to WVU.
"Obviously we're very disappointed with the results," said first-year GSU coach Trent Miles.
Later, he explained the three fourth-quarter WVU touchdowns.
"You saw how we looked compared to how they looked," Miles said. "They're bigger than us."
Yet on a chilly mid-September day, before a terrific crowd of 57,440, WVU sputtered many times. There were dropped passes. There were overthrows and underthrows by first-time starting QB Ford Childress. There were missed blocks by linemen, backs and wideouts. The defense allowed Georgia State to score on a 65-yard run - the longest scoring run in school history.
Mountaineer offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson certainly wasn't thrilled.
"We've done nothing in the last three games that we haven't done for the last 15 years," he said of his schemes and time with head coach Dana Holgorsen. "We have to have people step up."
He knows. Dawson spoke of drops of routine passes. He spoke of vertical passing misconnections.
"It was frustrating," Dawson said of the halftime 17-0 lead. "We have a way about us that kills drives. I told them [at halftime], 'We're not asking you to be superhuman. Just do your job.'"
The biggest reason for frustration? WVU has the players to be better. Dawson and Holgorsen have spoke of youth, immaturity and even a lack of confidence. But the team has enough talent to be better.
"Physically we definitely have the players," Dawson said. "There's no doubt about that. Physically we do, or it wouldn't be so frustrating."
"We need to get more consistent at everything we do," said WVU offensive line coach Ron Crook. "We'd play good at times [on Saturday]. Then we'd go three [plays]-and-out. You can't do that and be a championship team."
No one expects this version of the Mountaineers to be a championship team. But if ever it could make hay while rebuilding in the Big 12, this could be the year.
Entering Saturday's action your league power rankings had to have Oklahoma State, Baylor and Oklahoma, in some order, as the top three, with Texas Tech close behind. Tech, of course, defeated ranked TCU, which now has two losses. (The other was to LSU.)
After those four, Texas, TCU and West Virginia had to make up the next tier before the Kansases and Iowa State.
That's not exactly daunting.
If Holgorsen gets his offense to somewhat resemble those of his past ...
"I looked for us to just execute more than anything," he said of Saturday's hopes. "To be vague, I wanted to get better on all three sides. We wanted to get a bunch of snaps and execute better than we have."
WVU had a bunch of snaps: 83 to Georgia State's 51. The Panthers wore down in the fourth quarter.
Until then, though, the upstarts sparred well with the Mountaineers.
They sparred well against a team better than that.
There was a bit of news about one of West Virginia's 2014 football commitments on Friday.
Stone Wolfley, son of ex-Mountaineer lineman Dale, had a nice game for Morgantown High on Friday against Parkersburg South.
The younger Wolfley had been strong at defensive end for the Mohigans, but relatively quiet at tight end. Until Friday. The 6-foot-4, 237-pound senior caught six passes, including a one-hander, from MHS quarterback Ethan Goldcamp for 113 yards and two touchdowns in playing just over a half.
It won't be long until the Wolfley name is back on Mountaineer Field.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.