Again, the staff unanimously picked the Mountaineers to win (shocker) versus the Dukes. After the offensive fireworks the Mountaineers put on display against the Herd, we all were expecting the Mountaineers to put up similar numbers against FCS opponent JMU. While the Mountaineers did not put up 10 touchdowns on JMU, they still scored 6 touchdowns and operated efficiently on offense. The defense stepped up as we somewhat predicted, keeping the Dukes out of the endzone until the final minute of the game (given up by the second team defense).
Ken Durbin’s Prediction: Isaiah Bruce will rack up 2 sacks and 15 total tackles.
Well, the Mountaineers defense got plenty of looks against the run-heavy offense of the Dukes. The Mountaineers played well against the run in the first half, only allowing 72 yards on the ground. The defense would ultimately yield 188 yards on the ground, but much of those yards came against the second team defense. As expected, the Mountaineers were able to get plenty of playing time for their back-ups, playing them for the entire fourth quarter. I expected the Mountaineers to be able to give the second team the entire second half, but they did not build as large a lead after 30 minutes as I had expected.
I had predicted that the Mountaineers pass rush would be able to dominate an under-sized FCS offensive line. The Dukes only called 27 passing plays on Saturday, but the defense made the most of limited pass rushing situations. The Mountaineers sacked Justin Thorpe and Michael Birdsong a combined 4 times. Only half of one of those sacks came from my guy, Isaiah Bruce. Yes, Bruce did not get 2 sacks and 15 tackles, but he did register 0.5 sacks and 9 tackles. That is still a solid performance by Bruce in an overall solid performance by the Mountaineer defense.
Brandon Miller’s Prediction: Andrew Buie will get 110 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Mixed reviews for my prediction on Buie. I said 110 yards and 2 TDs. While he never got into the endzone, he was a key part of the offense, contributing 31 rushing yards on 7 carries and 90 receiving yards on 5 receptions, for 121 total yards. Overall, a very solid game.
Alan Searles’ Prediction: What did I predict again?
It looks like Holgo kept the guys out of the track Friday night as the horse race actually kicked off at 4:30 on Saturday. The Eers got off to a fast start with ease, before coasting home to an easy win. Two more weeks until we get a legitimate test.
Patrick Pishko’s Prediction: Will Clarke will shine with 2 QB hurries, 1 sack, and 3 tackles.
Pretty close on my predictions for the JMU game:
Bruce finished with 4 solo/5 assisted tackles, .5 a sack and 2 tackle for losses.
Rigg made 4 solo/1 assisted tackle for a total of five. Karl Joseph remained consistent with 1 solo/4 assisted tackles.
Lastly, Will Clarke had a decent game with 1 solo/2 assisted tackles, .5 a sack, .5 a tackle for loss, and 1 pass break up.
All in all, I’d say a consistent but not overwhelming performance by these starters. Look for them to get better as the season progresses and DeForest and Patterson start becoming more comfortable with calling different defensive combinations.