2017-09-20 / Sports

Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd
Some thoughts

For the second week in a row the West Virginia University Football Team was expected to win by a large margin, which is what they did last Saturday with a 59-16 win over FCS opponent Delaware State. Some fans may enjoy a game like this, but many more, especially, season ticket holders, are left wondering why WVU is scheduling an opponent like Delaware State.

It’s fairly common in college football for FBS schools to schedule one FCS school every year. It’s a practice many fans question and now there is discussion among Power Five coaches and athletic directors to discontinue the practice. That would be a good thing. Some FCS schools, like James Madison, can compete with many FBS schools, but Delaware State has won just one game in two seasons. That would put them into the discussion of just what team may be the worst the Mountaineers have ever played.

Of course, over 125 years there have been may bad teams come to Mountaineer field, so comparing a team from 1917 to a team from 2017 is impossible, just know the hornets would be in the discussion.

With that rant out of the way, watching the Mountaineers early in the game was hard to do. Marcus Simms got WVU rolling with an 80-yard kickoff return and four plays later Justin Crawford scored a touchdown on a two-yard rush. The impending rout appeared to be on, but the Hornets caught the WVU defense somewhere in La La Land on third and four and turned a short pass into an 81-yard touchdown.

That play accounted for a big chunk of the Hornet’s 301 total yards, but there is still plenty to be concerned about the West Virginia defense. The blown coverage on this play was bad, but worse may be that safety Dravon Henry; one of the veterans on defense, was unable to get the angle on the Hornet receiver streaking down the sideline.

In another perplexing stretch of plays quarterback Will Grier had a snap bounce off his facemask and mishandled two other snaps, one of which was a turnover. He also threw an interception. Grier shrugged off the sluggish start to complete 19 of 27 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns. The offensive numbers after three games are magnificent, but they are hollow, because the opposition in the last two games basically didn’t exist.

This week the Mountaineers travel to Lawrence to meet the Kansas Jayhawks, ESPNU at noon, and the opposition level isn’t likely to be much stiffer. Kansas owns a win over FCS Missouri State, but is coming off of a 45-27 loss to Central Michigan and a 42-30 loss to Ohio University last Saturday.

If you’re a WVU fan you will likely be watching for improvement on the defensive side of the ball, because after Kansas this Saturday WVU has an open date before it travels to Dallas to meet TCU and begin eight straight weeks of Big 12 play.

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