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Weather: Mostly Sunny/High 78º Low 61º
Delaware State comes into Morgantown having not won a game since November 21st, 2015 against Howard University and haven’t had a winning season since 2012 (6-5).
The Hornets are led by head coach Kenny Carter in his third year at the helm at Delaware State. Carter has some familiarity with the West Virginia program, he was the running backs coach at Pitt in 2000 and at Louisville under Charlie Strong 2010-2013.
Carter and his Hornets haven’t had a good start to the season, only scoring 18 points in the first two games of the season and they have been shut out in the second half in both games.
Leading the offense out onto Mountaineer Field Saturday will be Freshman quarterback Jack McDaniels (6’3″ 20b-lbs). He’s 27-58 (46.6%), for 321 yards, an interception and a rushing touchdown. It’s been a rough start to his young collegiate career.
At receiver for the Hornets, Fatu Sua-Godinet (6’0” 180-lbs) and Jordan Hannah (5’7”160-lbs) are McDaniels his favorite targets, combining for 12 catches and 208 yards. They do have the big play capability, that gives them the opportunity to stretch the field.
The rushing attack is headed by the duo of Sophomore Mike Waters (5’10” 190-lbs) and Junior Brycen Alleyne (5’6″ 165-lbs). They’ve combined for 143 yards on the season.
Defensively for the Hornets, they have two solid linebackers, Malik Harris (6’0” 210-lbs) spearheads the defense with 18 tackles (9 solo), 2.5 tackles for a loss and a sack and Brian Cavicante (6’0” 220-lbs) has 14 tackles (6 solo) 3.5 tackles for a loss and a sack.
Cornerbacks Brock Nichols (6’0” 200lbs) and Keyjuan Selby (5’11” 175-lbs) will try to contain the Mountaineer passing attack.
The West Virginia offense will not have a problem against the Hornet defense, but still have some things to work on. For starters, they still need to find some depth on the outside. This would be a good opportunity to bring in the two-deep in the game to get some reps with starting quarterback Will Grier.
The offensive line still needs to learn to work together as a unit, especially in the running game.
Then of course getting reps for back-up quarterback Chris Chuganov.
Defensively, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. It’s still early in the season and a game like this gives a chance to find some depth, and correct the mistakes made in the previous two games.
The secondary is the most noticeable problem so far in the early part of the season. They not only need to figure out where they are supposed to be on the field during certain assignments, but need to be more physical with the receivers to knock them off their routes. This will disrupt the timing patterns and give the defensive line a chance to get to the quarterback.
The defensive line needs to get better fighting off blocks and getting more push into the backfield. If they cannot get a good push against Delaware State, this will be a major concern going into Big XII play.
The linebacking core has been solid to start the year although they have missed a few assignments. They just need to stay disciplined and not get fooled on misdirection plays.
There was improvement on the special teams from game 1 to game 2, noticeably in the punt/kickoff coverage and the return game. The specialists need to find some consistency in game time situations. The kick off team should get plenty of reps along with the punt return team. These two units should find ways to improve in game two.
The Mountaineers will not have a problem with the Hornets. This is a good time to work on the fundamentals of the game before making that run for a conference Championship.
Even though this will be a blowout, I still expect the starting units to come out after halftime to make adjustments, since they started so poorly in the second half last week against East Carolina.
Mountaineers Cruise in this one 66-0.