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EKU sack

Marshall defensive lineman Darius Hodge (left) sacks Eastern Kentucky quarterback Parker McKinney last Saturday.

Marshall demolished Eastern Kentucky 59-0 a week ago.

So now is it West Virginia University’s turn?

Uh, not exactly.

Yes, the Mountaineers are hosting the Colonels at noon Saturday at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.

But that doesn’t mean WVU is going to pile on the points. This isn’t a game of Mountain State one-upmanship. Far from it.

The fact of the matter is WVU second-year head coach Neal Brown is better acquainted with Eastern Kentucky and knows a lot more about the Colonels football program than he does Marshall. That’s logical considering Brown is a Kentucky native.

Besides, this isn’t a contest to see which of West Virginia’s two FBS programs can score the most points against Eastern Kentucky.

Granted, it does lead to some fun rhetoric between fans of the two schools, but coaches don’t indulge in such things. They’re too busy just trying to win.

“We’re going to be extremely simple,” said Brown. “We feel like our base offense and our base defense, we’ve got to continue to get better at that. We don’t have those reps logged like we’d normally have with a spring practice and a summer, so we have simplified what we’re doing. After two weeks of camp we’ve tried to identify what the quarterback is good at, offensively. Then, defensively, what our best front movements are and what our best coverages are in the secondary.”

Then there’s the fact that this is WVU’s opening game, while EKU already has a game under its chin straps.

“They played a game last week,” said Brown. “It was a great opportunity for them. They were on ESPN, so they’ve got a game under their belts. I do think they’ll make improvements. I do think they’ll play better ... probably considerably better than they did a week ago.

“It is what it is. We’re going to get our guys ready. I have a lot of respect for Eastern Kentucky and what that program meant to the state from where I’m from. But we are focused on West Virginia and us getting ready to play.

“We have to continue this climb for us to get better. I’m excited for our fans to see it. I don’t think it’s going to be perfect. It won’t be entirely clean, but the effort and the physicality — we’ll meet the standard.”

When asked if he had watched any of the televised MU-EKU game, Brown confirmed that he did.

“I watched bits and pieces of the first half live of the Marshall-Eastern Kentucky game,” said Brown. “I don’t know enough about Marshall to say if it was a case of them playing well or Eastern Kentucky playing poorly.

“I thought the redshirt freshman quarterback [MU’s Grant Wells] did a really nice job. They’ve got talent at tight end and receivers. I watched them on offense. Defensively, I thought their front did a nice job.

“I think Eastern Kentucky is capable of playing better. Watching and reading some of Coach [Walt] Wells’ comments ... that’s why I expect them to be much improved. But Game Ones are tough. Sometimes you throw them out.

“Who knows? I don’t know enough about either one of those programs to give a great answer.”

All Brown wants is for the Mountaineers to play hard. He’ll let the points fall where they may.

The Mountaineers will win 48-6.