Finding takeaways from 65-7 victory might sound easy, but the context that it was against an FCS opponent is a real thing for West Virginia and doesn’t necessarily answer what this team will be like the rest of the season.
Regardless of the fact Towson was the victim of WVU’s offensive explosion and defensive shutout (the lone Tigers score was on a kickoff return), here are the 5 key takeaways from the game on Saturday.
CJ Donaldson is a beast
For a guy who had never played running back before, he’s been looking and acting the part very well. And his success is no surprise to Neal Brown and the WVU coaching staff, who knew they just had to find a place to use him. His 82-yard touchdown run helped give him his second 100+ day in three games. He is simply a weapon WVU will have for years to come.
The defense can be great when motivated
Yes, it was against Towson, but posting a shutout was something the defense really wanted to do, and needed to do. The defensive line, which was great in the Brawl, couldn’t handle Kansas’ Jalon Daniels. That unit helped ensure the Tigers couldn’t really move the ball too far down the field. The secondary didn’t allow much either, and they were without Charles Woods. Yes, it was against Towson, but the defense had to impose their will, and they did.
Present and future of QB position is a strength for WVU
It’s clear JT Daniels has that “it” factor and is an upgrade for West Virginia. Coaches and players have talked about his levelheadedness and leadership qualities, which rubs off on everyone around him. His accuracy, ability to shake off the first read and find the second or third option is something many felt his predecessor struggled to do consistently.
Most importantly, WVU’s other quarterbacks each showed something too. Garrett Greene did get to throw some designed pass plays, even though his success did come on the ground as usual. Will Crowder has still never thrown an incompletion when playing for WVU, going 6 for 6 on Saturday. But the biggest plus was Nicco Marchiol. The hyped up true freshman looked good and threw a perfect ball on a rope for a touchdown. He’s the future and that future is bright.
Things aren’t as bad as they could be
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not trying to put lipstick on the pig that’s been WVU’s season so far, or at least the Kansas loss. With that said, it was important for the Mountaineers to not only win, but win in dominating fashion against an FCS team. And they did. We have seen other major programs struggle to do even that. Just look to Nebraska’s loss to Georgia Southern. Sure, it’s shocking when any “Power 5” team plays poorly when facing inferior competition, but doing it while your program is floundering creates a serious freak out session amongst fans and everyone involved. It’s how a coach gets fired early in a season. Unlike Scott Frost, Neal Brown can at least rest easy knowing his program is not in THAT bad of a spot. Beating legit opponents and picking up a big win are still necessary though.
None of this matter if WVU doesn’t keep it up
Not to be negative here, but nothing in this story really matters if WVU turns around and can’t beat anyone else. Some predicted a 1-11 finish after the Kansas loss with Towson being the only win. That obviously can’t happen. If WVU follows this performance with one that looks much more like blowing a game to Kansas, no one will care about destroying Towson. That’s just the case, like it or not. No one should expect 65-7, but this team has to play better and show what it can do against FBS teams too. Remember the 66-0 win over LIU last year? No one is bragging about that now and it meant nothing with how that year finished.