Morgantown, WV – On a sunny and occasionally cloudy but rather warm early fall afternoon at Puskar Stadium, the Neer’s shook off its early season rust to jump on NC State for a 44-27 win.
“Shake ups are in the future”…..that’s exactly what Neal Brown told the media following the first loss of the season last week putting the Mountaineers at 1-1 with their first loss early in the season.
“The best way I can tell you, is that if you continue to put stuff on video that isn’t good enough, then you have to make changes. If there are changes, it’s because guys didn’t put good stuff on video or they were beaten out.”
That was Neal Brown’s challenge to the Mountaineers in his weekly pressor on Tuesday, after they lost last week to Missouri. That challenge stuck with his squad, as the Mountaineers answered the coaches call and turned in the team’s best performance of the early season with a 44-27 win over the Wolfpack from NC State in Morgantown Saturday afternoon.
The game started off with a couple of failed attempts to score. After a missed field goal by NC State, the Neer’s took over and went to work. The Mountaineers came out and went no huddle and a fast paced drive going 5 plays for 66 yards that resulted in a 20 yard touchdown pass to WR Sam James.
NC State answered with a quick score to tie it, but the West Virginia kept the pace going on the next drive to take back the lead on 23 yard run that ended with McKay running over a defenseless defender from NC State at the goal line. The two teams traded scored making it 14-14 at the half. West Virginia would obviously go in and adjust to what they faced in the first half and never look back.
The running game opened up in the second half mostly due to the passing attack that West Virginia came out with. It opened up the Wolfpack D line and secondary due to a heavy dosage of Sam James. Sam was targeted 15 times and finished the game with nine catches for 155 yards. One catch was a 20-yard TD that opened up a scoring barrage for West Virginia which NC State never answered in the second half.
West Virginia finished with a total of 445 yards of offense on the ground and air.
With his former captain, current NFL quarterback Will Grier in attendance; it must have inspired current West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall to step up and lead the new offense. He torched the NC State secondary the entire second half. Kendall was 27/40 and 272 yards and 3 scores. His one and only mistake, was an interception deep in his own territory. Luckily he was bailed out by a WV defense that held the WolfPack to a 37-yard FG.
Saturday win was a game with many defining moments. The Neers of West Virginia 44-27 win over NC State before a total of 57,052 Neer’s fans in Morgantown. It was a fitting end to a week that became a defining moment to Mountaineer coach Neal Brown. At least we hope!! Stay tuned!!