West Virginia shakes off Delaware State

West Virginia and Delaware State were two teams woefully mismatched last Saturday in Morgantown. But the Mountaineers did their best to be in the role of gracious hosts in an early effort to play down to their level of competition. Dropped passes, fumbled snaps, and a blown coverage on an 81 yard pass play highlighted a less than stellar first quarter.

But the Mountaineers finally shook out of their doldrums and scored six first half touchdowns and a field goal utilizing only 10 minutes of clock time. The average scoring drive lasted only 1:18 in duration, highlighted by three touchdown passes from Will Grier and three TD runs from Justin Crawford.

Similar to the previous week against East Carolina, WVU pulled starters late in the third quarter again giving valuable on field time to players second and third on the depth chart. One interesting tidbit was backup quarterback Chris Chugunov completing a pass to his brother Mitch in the fourth quarter. Not something one often sees and certainly worth noting.

As I have mentioned in this column before I am not a fan of Power Five teams scheduling FCS opponents. There are only perhaps a dozen or so such schools which are competitive. The Mountaineers do play a couple of those over the next two seasons — Youngstown State in 2018 and James Madison in 2019 — but for the most part, these are games that are of little interest. West Virginia is far from alone in college football scheduling such games, as SEC teams sprinkle cupcakes in the middle of their conference schedule in November. The Big Ten briefly had a rule prohibiting scheduling FCS teams but has already allowed some exceptions. There are plenty of lower tier Division I teams who I’m sure would be happy to play road games at Power Five campuses and pick up a big paycheck.

The conference schedule now begins, and as noted last week the Big 12 is showing a bit more life in 2017. Texas almost pulled off a huge upset at USC late Saturday night, losing a heartbreaker in double overtime. Up the road in Pittsburgh Oklahoma State piled up 516 yards and 49 points–by halftime.

I felt a little bad for our Panther friends, didn’t you? Of course we have to play the Cowboys at the end of October ourselves so maybe we shouldn’t laugh too hard.

THIS SATURDAY

The Kansas Jayhawks have one of the nation’s best basketball programs and one of the worst in football. We keep looking for some signs of life and there was hope this season, but getting pummeled by Mid-American Conference schools Central Michigan and Ohio U. was not a good sign. Kansas does have a respectable offense and will score points but the Jayhawks will have a hard time holding the Mountaineers in check.

WEST VIRGINIA 52 KANSAS 24.

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