MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Mountaineers were just shy of the 48.5 point spread by halftime.
On the kickoff of today’s game, Winston Wright Jr. ran the ball back 90 yards to register the first one-play kickoff return-turned Mountaineer touchdown since Tavon Austin in the 2009 game against UConn.
Following kicker Casey Legg’s successful extra point, the Mountaineers already had the 7-0 lead 11 seconds into the game.
QB1 Jarret Doege took the field, as expected. It only took 14 plays to register yet another Mountaineer touchdown. A Leddie Brown one-yard rush tallied the second WVU score to put the Mountaineers up 14-0 with 6:16 left in the first quarter.
From there, the Mountaineer defense took the field from the first time. WVU nose tackle Akheem Mesidor set the defensive tone with a quick tackle. The defense then forced a third down situation that saw Long Island QB Camden Orth throw the ball out of bounds. The Sharks elected to punt. Mountaineer Isaiah Esdale was deep to receive, and the WVU offense began again at the LIU 39.
Dangerously close to the red zone once more, Leddie Brown helped convert the Mountaineers’ first third down of the game: a 3rd and 1 that turned into to a touchdown six plays later. Brown pushed his second short-yardage rush into the end zone for a two-yard gain and the third WVU touchdown. Heading into the second quarter, the Mountaineers were already leading 21-0.
The second quarter saw redshirt freshman Garrett Greene’s substitution. The rushing quarterback was quick to show off his versatility and quick feet. He carried the ball twice in third down scenarios, both which converted. The 10- and 11-yard QB keeps allowed the Mountaineers to rocket down the field to the LIU 47. A gutsy 4th and 7 play turned into a Garrett Greene rushing clinic, when the redshirt freshman converted the Mountaineers’ first fourth down into a 28-yard pass to Esdale. The Mountaineer offense easily found itself at the three-yard-line soon after.
Milan Puskar Stadium erupted when Greene kept the ball and rushed the remaining three yards into the end zone. Legg booted his fourth field goal of the night and the score went up to 28-0 with 8:58 left in the second quarter. After that touchdown, head coach Neal Brown elected to reintroduce Doege. Greene finished the half with 28 passing yards and 34 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Jarret Doege’s offense made quick work of the Sharks, but Long Island put up a fight, forcing the second fourth down opportunity of the Mountaineers’ night. Doege flipped the ball to Tony Mathis Jr., who pushed it up the field five yards for a first down. Doege’s second sack of the night came shortly after. A loss of 11 yards found the Mountaineers daunted, but the offense was quick to recuperate. Doege’s next play was an 18-yard pass that ended in the hands of Sam James, who ran it into the end zone. The Sharks now trailed 35-0 with 3:07 left in the half.
When the Mountaineer defense took the field again, Taijh Alston registered his first sack of the game, pummeling Orth into the turf. It would have been more ceremonious if Alston hadn’t have gotten flagged for a face mask penalty on the play. Orth took another beating later in the drive, when he met Mesidor for a sack and loss of 18 yards. Long Island’s special teams unit took the field for what turned into a blocked field goal attempt that didn’t even reach the uprights. A goose egg remained on the scoreboard.
Doege finished up the first half at QB, taking a page out of Greene’s rushing playbook with a 12-yard rush to put the Mountaineers in field goal range. Casey Legg secured a 44-yard field goal as the second ticked down toward halftime. WVU went into the locker room up 38-0 at the half.
Not quite sure what Brown told his team at halftime, but the Mountaineers entered the second half less than exhausted, despite the scoring inequity. A strong-armed 39-yard pass from Doege to junior wide receive Sean Ryan tallied a three-play touchdown series that put the Mountaineers up 45-0 with 12:34 to play in the third.
Sam James etched his name in the game notes once more a minute later, with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Doege. Now, the Mountaineers were up 52-0 with 11 minutes to go in the third quarter. Garrett Greene entered the game two minutes later and found the end zone again for his second rushing touchdown of the game. His 13-yard rush secured a 59-0 Mountaineer lead with six minutes to play in the third.
Entering the final quarter, Greene’s offense continued to power down the field. Down at the two-yard-line, the offense failed to convert its 4th and 1 placement. The blip in the offense’s standing was countered by a strong defensive presence. The Mountaineer defensive line put on a red zone clinic, holding the Sharks’ offense to just two yards progression on a set of downs before the team was forced to punt.
Third-string, freshman QB Will Crowder took the field shortly after with an effectively twos and threes Mountaineer offense. That offensive scheme, flanked by freshman wide receiver Kaden Prather, secured a 20-yard connection that put WVU in scoring position once more. A one-yard gain by redshirt freshman running back A’Varius Sparrow added to the Mountaineers’ score. With five and a half minutes to play in tonight’s game, the score was ratcheted up to a rather ridiculous 66-0, the final score.
The now 1-1 Mountaineers will look to build on this momentum heading into next week’s home game against a 2-0 Virginia Tech. That game kicks off at noon on Sept. 18.