The West Virginia football team laid it all on Long Island University on Saturday afternoon in their home opener at Milan Puskar Stadium jumping out to a 66-0 victory.
The win came after an ugly blunder to Maryland last week in which West Virginia turned the ball over on four different occasions. A lot looked different this weekend whether it be because it’s Long Island or because the Mountaineers are actually progressing and getting better, or a little bit of both.
It didn’t take very long for the Mountaineers to get on the board as an opening kickoff 90-yard touchdown return from Winston Wright Jr. gave West Virginia the very early 7-0 advantage.
The game’s opening touchdown return came a week after Wright Jr. set the West Virginia school record for return yardage with 217 kickoff return yards.
Jarret Doege began the day under center on Saturday afternoon completing six passes on nine attempts for 108 yards. Some of Doege’s best connections came to Bryce Ford-Wheaton and Winston Wright Jr. on a pair of drives that resulted in some Leddie Brown rushing touchdowns.
The longest pass between Doege and Wright Jr. came three plays before Brown’s first touchdown on a 29-yard strike that saw the receiver go down at the Long Island 20-yard line. The next Mountaineer offensive possession saw Ford-Wheaton haul in a 27-yard reception to the Long Island 16-yard line and put West Virginia in position for their third touchdown of the day.
West Virginia backup quarterback Garrett Greene made a splash of his own in the first half coming into the game in the second quarter and rushing for 34 yards on six rushes in the half including a three-yard touchdown run with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter.
An important play which set up the Greene touchdown run was a fourth down Isaiah Esdale 28-yard reception delivered from Greene down the right sideline to put West Virginia up at the 13-yard line.
Another Mountaineer wide receiver was able to contribute to the first half whopping as Doege found Sam James wide open in the end-zone for an 18-yard touchdown only three minutes before heading to the locker room.
The Mountaineers were then able to get close enough to the end zone once more before halftime for Casey Legg to boot a 44-yard field goal to put WVU ahead by 38 points with time expiring in the first half.
Coming out of the gates in the second half, West Virginia quickly forced Long Island to punt before Leddie Brown rushed a pair of times each for five yards. Sean Ryan then hauled in a 39-yard touchdown connection from Doege for the 45-0 advantage.
Not much looked different from the first half besides West Virginia being able to force a fumble recovery on a muffed handoff off the fingertips of Paul Shemar which was recovered by Sean Martin to put the Mountaineers at the Long Island 21-yard line.
The fumble recovery for Martin led to another Doege touchdown pass to James for his second score of the day. The strike saw James score from the Mountaineers 15-yard line four minutes into the second half.
Greene made another good impression coming into the game in the second half and rushing the ball for 70 yards. On third and seven with five minutes remaining in the third, Greene kept the ball again and rushed up the middle for the 13-yard West Virginia touchdown.
The quarterback unfortunately came up with a mishandled snap at the end of the third quarter however, resulting in a Long Island recovery scooped up by Qualil Liu Lumpkins at the Sharks 15-yard-line.
Greene and third string quarterback Will Crowder played the fourth quarter under center for the Mountaineers as the only touchdown of the quarter came on an A’Varius Sparrow one-yard rush up the middle for the 66-0 final score.
It was all West Virginia’s offense on the day as Doege led the charge with his 259 passing yards and three touchdowns. Sam James was able to grab two of those touchdowns and Sean Ryan brought in the most yards among receivers with 77 yards.
Greene and Brown each punched in a pair of touchdowns on the day as Greene led in ground yardage with 98 total rushing yards.
The Mountaineer defense was able to hold the Sharks offense to only 95 total yards on the day and Josh Chandler-Semedo led West Virginia with five total tackles while Alonzo Addae led the way with four solo tackles.
West Virginia will get set for their first true test of the season next Saturday when they welcome old-time rival Virginia Tech to Morgantown at 12 p.m. ET. which will be televised on FS1.