West Virginia notebook: Defense porous but enough
College Football Videos
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Now a member of the Big 12, West Virginia is expecting its defense to come up with turnovers and big plays against high-powered offenses the league has to offer.
In Saturday's season-opening win against Marshall, the Mountaineers gave up 545 yards — including 413 passing — but forced two turnovers. Most prominent was Isaiah Bruce's 43-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
“I was happy with the way the defense flew around,” coach Dana Holgorsen said.
Austin, Bailey break out
Fearful of the big-play capabilities of receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, Marshall cornerbacks offered large cushions much of the day.
Still, Austin and Bailey combined for 19 receptions for 157 yards and three touchdowns.
“Not much of it worked,” Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. “It was obvious if you put that many points on the board, it didn't work a whole lot.”
All Austin, all the time
Holgorsen wants Austin to become a more complete player this season. That meant Austin remaining on the field after his 70-yard run on a reverse so the Mountaineers could continue their hurry-up offense.
Austin was involved in all three plays on the 83-yard drive in the second quarter, including a 6-yard touchdown catch.
“A year ago, Tavon would have come off the field,” Holgorsen said. “We're forcing him to (stay on) now.”
Holgorsen: Blame me
Holgorsen took blame for the Mountaineers' failure to score on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line in the first quarter. Quarterback Geno Smith was stopped short of the goal line.
“I should have kicked the field goal. Terrible call,” Holgorsen said. “It was me being stupid and stubborn.”
Odds and ends
Smith has thrown 10 touchdown passes in his past two games. He has 12 touchdowns in all in those games. ... Smith holds the school record for completions and touchdown passes. ... Bailey finished with 104 receiving yards, his eighth career 100-yard receiving game. He needs one more to equal David Saunders for the school record. ... WVU improved to 87-29-4 in season openers. ... The Mountaineers are 76-3 when scoring 30 or more points. ... WVU and Marshall combined for 103 points, a Milan Puskar Stadium record. ... WVU's captains were Smith, Austin, Joe Madsen, Will Clarke and Pat Miller. Holgorsen selects captains each week. ... WVU's 655 total yards were 19 short of a school record set against Washington & Lee in 1923. They were, however, a stadium record, eclipsing WVU's 643 yards against Bowling Green last season. ... WVU scored 21 points in the third quarter. The Mountaineers have scored 20 or more points in a quarter 37 times since 2001.
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- WVU quarterback Trickett ready to put experience to use
- WVU football ticket sales on decline
- Slimmer Shell settles in at WVU