Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Gameweek! Week 10 Primer

Matchup: West Virginia v Louisville

When: Saturday, 12:00p, Big East Network

Line: WVU -13

West Virginia Players to Watch:
Geno Smith, QB: 2715 yards, 20 TD, 5 INT
Dustin Garrison, RB: 517 rush yards, 141 pass yards, 5 TD
Tavon Austin: 56 rec, 1239 all purpose yards, 5 total TD
Stedman Bailey, WR: 43 rec, 815 yards, 7 TD

Louisville Players to Watch:
Teddy Bridgewater, QB: 1029 yards, 7 TD, 6 INT
Michaelee Harris, WR: 26 rec, 356 yards, 2 TD
Dexter Heyman, LB: 55 total tackles, 10 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 INT
Hakeem Smith, S: 43 total tackles, 4 TFL, 8 PB, 1 FF


How do these rivals respond on and off the field following a bitter battle to get into the Big 12. WVU ultimately got the spot, but it wasn't pretty. Look for Louisville to play with a bit of a chip on their shoulder, trying to prove that the Big 12 took the wrong program. As for the fans? Well, expect a lot of talk going both ways. It will be eventful, though I'm sure WVU officials are happy that it wasn't Louisville who got it over WVU...or this weekend could have been really ugly.

It's a battle of the best offense and the best defense in the Big East. Something has to give, right? WVU's offense will certainly go right at the best defense in the conference, but can they survive another slow start? Will Louisville look to cut off the run, or go right after Geno Smith? How about the Louisville offense against the WVU defense? Can Teddy Bridgewater do enough against an inconsistent unit? A lot of questions to be answered on Saturday.

WVU once again controls their own destiny. And you wonder if this team is going to get back to playing on a high level following the second half of the Rutgers' game. The team stepped up after six quarters of mediocre play. Whatever that lapse was, it was quickly forgotten with how the Mountaineers did in that second half. WVU has plenty of tough games left, but if they play to potential they should fare well.

Will we see changes on the defense? Specifically at the cornerback position. Broderick Jenkins ended the game with two picks, but more importantly just flat out played better than Pat Miller. Miller had another tough game, which included two pass interference calls. He has made some nice plays this year, but has been inconsistent at best. Jenkins may have earned himself more playing time. We'll see on Saturday.

WVU-Rutgers Final Thoughts

Well, not exactly how you write it up, but a win is a win. The Mountaineers did well to deal with the adverse conditions, and are backing to controlling their own destiny. It also looked like the conference realignment wasn't much of a distraction. It was plenty of a distraction to the fanbase.

Most Valuable: Shawne Alston. The big back took advantage of the conditions, and bruised through defender after defender. The junior finished with 110 yards and two touchdowns, including a 52 yard scamper early on. Alston was also asked to do a lot of blocking due to the injury to Ryan Clarke, and ended up performing admirably. All-in-all it was an outstanding day for Alston.

Least Valuable: Pat Miller. Not a day to remember, again, for Miller. The cornerback got owned the entire game, allowing for numerous big gains. He also picked up two pass interference calls on the same drive, including one of 4th down. Broderick Jenkins would come in and outperform Miller by a mile. It makes you wonder if there will a change in the starting 11. Miller has made some big plays this year, but just hasn't been consistent...though in his defense, really nobody has on that unit.

Most Surprising: The final score. Didn't expect 72 points to be scored in a blizzard. We got the mistakes and turnovers you would normally get in a game like that. However, a plethora of big plays did come to some surprise. Now, normally with weather like this the offense will be on an advantage due to the bad footing, but that many big plays in the snow is ridiculous.

Least Surprising: Rutgers blowing the lead. The Knights haven't beaten WVU since the mid 90's, meaning no lead is ever safe in this rivalry. And just like many games before, the Mountaineers made adjustments at halftime and Rutgers had no answer. Greg Schiano has to be ecstatic that WVU is leaving the Big East. He is now a whopping 0-11 against the Mountaineers.

Play of the Game: Geno's 1-yard TD run. The 4th down play called for Geno to look for Tyler Urban in the endzone. However, Smith felt it was wiser to fake the pass and go for the line himself. He beat the safety and dove into the endzone to give the Mountaineers the lead for good. The quarterback showed great leadership in the 4th quarter, especially on that drive.


Quarterback: Geno had some trouble holding on to the ball in the fun weather, but ended up playing a solid game. His completion percentage was good, and made some big throws when needed. And, even ran a little bit, including scoring the game winner.
Grade: B+

Running back: Alston was the featured back in this snowy game, and even Tavon Austin got the reverse game going. The team went for over 200 yards, proving that when needed, this team can pound the rock.
Grade: A-

Wideout: Yes, a few drops in the tough weather, but also some sensational catches. The receivers did well to pick up as much yardage as possible after the catch.
Grade: B+

Offensive line: A good bounce-back week for the unit. Geno had time to throw the ball, and the ground attack went for over 200 yards. There were a few penalties picked up, but did handle a very good defensive line.
Grade: B+

Defensive line: Created little havoc in tough conditions. Created some pressure, and finished with one sack. Julian Miller did recover two fumbles.
Grade: C+

Linebacker: Struggled against the run most of the day, but did do better in coverage. Still a work in progress.
Grade: C

Secondary: Another day to forget for the majority of the unit. Coverage was loose, and tacking was also shambolic.
Grade: C-

Special Teams: Kicking games were a mess in the snow. There were a few badly taken penalties. However, coverage wasn't terrible. Mixed bag.
Grade: C

Coaching: The halftime adjustments seemed to work for the defense, as they shutout Rutgers. The offense was called well, and some aspects of special teams seemed to improve
Grade: B