After each game, college football teams turn the proverbial page.
In West Virginia University’s case, though, the script looks the same this week as it did last.
The gametime is again at noon. The venue remains Milan Puskar Stadium. And Delaware State’s quarterback might be named Jack McDaniels, but it seems the Mountaineers’ opponent has no shot.
DSU, a FCS program, is a member of the 11-team Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. And when the head coaches of the MEAC got together to cobble a preseason ranking, they placed the Hornets No. 11.
Last season, Delware State lost every game. This year the Hornets are 0-2 after losses to Delaware (22-3) and Hampton (28-15). The most one can say is DSU coach Kenny Carter’s team did improve from last season’s 56-14 loss to Delaware.
West Virginia offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste, however, shrugged off the setup.
“We’re approaching it the same way we approach every single game on our schedule,” he said after WVU’s 56-20 victory over East Carolina. “You have to respect your opponent. You can’t underestimate anybody. You have to go out there and work and play to the best of you ability.”
That will undoubtedly be the mantra this week in WVU’s camp. In preseason voting, no Hornet was named to the all-MEAC first unit, although running back Mike Waters was among second-team selections. In the first two games, Waters is averaging 38 rushing yards a game and his team is averaging 85. McDaniels, a true freshman quarterback, has completed 46.6 percent of his pass attempts and is averaging 160.5 passing yards a game.
West Virginia, meanwhile, has been hot offensively after a slow start in its loss to Virginia Tech. The Mountaineers are averaging 40 points, 387 passing yards and 218.5 rushing yards a game.
David Sills is the team’s leading receiver in yards per game at 123.5. Gary Jennings is the team leader in catches with 17. And Marcus Simms returned from suspension against East Carolina for a 52-yard score.
“Having Marcus back now adds another element to our offense, which is great,” Sills said. “I think we’ll need that moving forward. I think our offense is at a great point right now and we’re coming together as a team.”
Justin Crawford is leading the rushing attack, averaging 112 yards a game. He had 118 and two touchdowns in the blowout of ECU.
“After the Virginia Tech game we had a long bus ride home,” Crawford said. “It was quiet. We had a lot of time to think about what we did wrong. It was good to bounce back.”
WVU did so in a big way, rolling up 619 total yards against ECU.
“That was definitely fun,” Cajuste said. “As an offense we want to score every single possession. And when you score like that, it’s fun.”
Sills pointed to the chemistry between QB Will Grier and the receivers.
“We put in constant work over the summer and the spring, and Will has great chemistry with the receivers,” he said. “He hit Ka’Raun [White] on a lot of different timing routes [Saturday]. He hit Marcus right in stride on that deep post. He’s in synch with Gary [Jennings]. It’s a full-out effort.”
And the goal this week?
“I still think we have a lot to work on,” Sills said. “There’s a lot we can get better at throughout the week. We’re going to watch the film, see what we can get better at and just continue to do that. We know we have a long season ahead of us, so we just need to be the best we can.”