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WVU notebook: Linebacker Kwiatkoski anchors defense

| Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, 6:54 p.m.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
West Virginia cornerback Ishmael Banks versus Georgia State during their Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 contest at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Georgia State running back Travis Evans (21) carries the ball past West Virginia's Nick Kwiatkoski (35) during the first quarter Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, in Morgantown, W.Va.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For the third consecutive game, linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski from Bethel Park led West Virginia in tackles, totaling nine in the 41-7 win over Georgia State on Saturday afternoon.

Kwiatkoski is a converted safety who grew into linebacker size and has developed into a special player.

“He is only a redshirt sophomore and is as healthy as he has ever been,” coach Dana Holgorsen said. “He is a smart guy and is allowing himself to be coached. There is a mental aspect to the game of football that you have to be able to understand, and right now, he understands it.”

But it is more than just that.

“He has worked his body into phenomenal shape,” Holgorsen added.

There are almost no complaints coming from anywhere about him.

Ask defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Keith Patterson.

“He is one of those guys who does everything you ask him to do, and he doesn't deviate from it,” Patterson said. “I've been very pleased with his approach every single day. What you see from him on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is what you are going to see on Saturday.”

Because of that, he is prepared each game and plays maybe just a step faster than those around him.

“It's his confidence,” Patterson said. “He understands the system. When you play with confidence, you play fast. Last year, he didn't have the reps to go out there and feel 100 percent confident. This year, he does.”

Trio sits out

Three players were not dressed for the Georgia State game. Backup cornerback KJ Dillon was out with a knee injury, linebacker Doug Rigg was kept out as precaution after suffering a concussion the previous week and tight end Garrett Hope was out with an unannounced injury.

To fill in for Hope as a backup tight end, Russell Haughton-James was moved from reserve right guard.

Childress sets frosh mark

Ford Childress' 359 passing yards were a record for a freshman quarterback at WVU, breaking the mark of 257 set Nov. 24, 2000, by Scott McBrien in a loss to Pitt.

WVU Hall inducts 7

The 23rd induction ceremonies were held for the WVU Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday. Inducted were Dale Blaney (men's basketball), Olivia Bradley (women's basketball), Linda Burdette-Good (gymnastics), Dr. Ed Etzel (rifle), Dean Morrison (wrestling), Paul Popovich (men's basketball/baseball) and Tom Woodeshick (football).

Mountaineer debuts

Five players started for the first time for WVU: Mario Alford, Ronald Carswell, Daryl Worley, Kevin White and Childress.

— Bob Hertzel

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