First year West Virginia quarterback Gino Smith wasted no time getting acquainted with the end zone at Milan Puskar Stadium as he lead the Mountaineer offense on a 72 yard scoring drive to open the game against visiting Coastal Carolina. Smith capped the drive by finding wide out J.D. Woods just inside the end zone for a 4yd touchdown. The Mountaineers would add 3 more touchdowns and a field goal before the game’s end which made the final score West Virginia 31 Coastal Carolina 0.
Indeed, the score was lopsided but things didn’t really get out of hand until the second half. Following the opening touchdown drive by WVU, the Mountaineers didn’t score again until the second quarter when kicker Tyler Bitancurt hit a 21yd field goal. Coastal Carolina had quite a few opportunities to put points on the board but were unable to do so against an incredibly fast WVU defense. Just when it appeared a Chanticleer running back or receiver had room to run, out of nowhere would come WVU linebacker J.T. Thomas (who is said to have 4.3 speed), or safety Robert Sands to shut the whole operation down.
With an average offense performance and stellar defensive performance, the Mountaineers took a 10-0 lead into the locker room. Coastal Carolina didn’t help its comeback efforts in the second half because the Chanticleers fumbled the kick off return to start the 3rd quarter. The Mountaineers took full advantage of the Chanticleers mistake with a 17 yard Gino Smith to Jock Sanders touchdown pass. After developing a 17 point lead the Mountaineers never looked back and Coastal Carolina’s spirits were finally broken for good.
Mountaineer fans are pleased with the victory but not the performance. Anytime a team ranked in the top 25, like WVU, takes on little ole Coastal Carolina fans expect results similar to what Ohio State had when they played Marshall (OSU 45 MU 7). Speaking of the Thundering Herd, Marshall will be WVU’s opponent next week as the two team’s face of in the fourth ever Friends of Coal Bowl . Marshall is the state’s “other” FBS school, has never beaten the Mountaineers, and right now the Herd are 0-1 on the season (see score above).
Early predictions are that WVU will once again bash their cross state foes, which would be WVU’s fourth consecutive Friends of Coal Bowl victory. But, if one considers the fact that MU faced a team that was clearly superior( #2 in the Nation with a Heisman candidate), whereas WVU faced a team that was clearly inferior ( a FCS team), it’s truly hard to say what will happen this coming Friday in Huntington. This game should show both teams where they truly stand at this point in the young season.
About the Author
Written by Jason Lee
Born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia, I've been a sports fan probably since I was about 9 years old! A 2002 graduate of Mount Union College (Alliance, OH), I've had the opportunity to cover some great high school football on the radio in both Ohio (working with WHBC in Canton) and in West Virginia (I currently work with Bristol Broadcasting in Charleston). I also keep an on-line journal/blogs on my own website.