Who: Connecticut Huskies
When: Noon, Saturday October 8
Where: Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown WV
What to Watch For When The ‘Eers Have the Ball: Last week against Bowling Green, West Virginia finally figured out its running game in a big way. Dustin Garrison piled up the second-most single-game yardage in school history and the Mountaineers now know who will carry the football going forward. The offensive line has slowly gelled over the last two weeks and looks to keep improving. It will be interesting to see if the Mountaineers choose to throw more than they did last week, but there should be no shortage of scoring. With the promise of a fully-balanced offensive attack just around the bend, Holgorsen’s offense may just be ready to take it to the next level. There’s no better time than the first conference game of the season.
What to Watch For When The Huskies Have the Ball: Last season’s loss in Hartford was the nadir of the Mountaineers' disappointing season. Turnovers killed WVU, and Morgantown still hasn’t forgiven Ryan Clarke for his fumbles. Many WVU fans forget the punishing run game that was shoved down the Mountaineers’ throats, which could be a key again tomorrow. Despite a disappointing 2-3 record, UConn will still try to ground and pound WVU into submission, and if WVU’s D-Line isn’t up for the task, this one could be close. Expect a heaping dose of Lyle McCombs running between the tackles. How far he goes will dictate how far the Huskies go in this one.
The Mountaineers Will Roll If: The offense can move the ball on the ground and in the air, all while hanging onto the thing. If WVU doesn’t cough up any stupid turnovers, expect Geno Smith and Dustin Garrison to spend plenty of time in the end zone. The Mountaineers are averaging 40 points per game so far, and that looks like a solid forecast for Saturday.
The Mountaineers Will Have Trouble If: The Huskies control the clock by running the football and get a few breaks along the way. WVU should cruise, but if UConn hangs around into the second half, things could get tense.
Thing That Makes My Blood Boil: Coaches complaining about lack of attendance. Last week’s game was played to a two-thirds capacity Mountaineer field and WVU fans caught the ire of their first year head coach this week. I understand his frustrations, but calling out the fans while referring to his current position as "this place" doesn’t win a whole lot of new friends in these parts. Ultimately, the person with the most influence over whether there are fannies in the stands is Holgorsen himself. Win the Big East, and it shouldn’t be a problem.