Morgantown W. Va. — (September 14th, 2020)–On Saturday afternoon, the West Virginia Mountaineers hosted the Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Milan Puskar Stadium for the first game of the season. The Mountaineers impressively beat the Colonels 56-10 despite WVU football coach, Neal Brown suspending 11 players about two hours before kickoff. Coach Brown wants everyone to know that the one-game suspensions were not COVID related.
Starting quarterback, Jarret Doege, showed why he deserved to win the starting job. Doege completed 19-of-25 with 228 yards and three touchdowns. The junior quarterback did not turn the ball over once and was not sacked on Saturday afternoon. Neal Brown in the second half gave backup quarterbacks, Austin Kendall and Garrett Greene, a chance to showcase their skills while already up big. Kendall, an Oklahoma transfer, threw for 43 yards with a 50 percent completion rate. Greene, a true freshman, showed great potential throwing for 24 yards and rushing for 33 yards in his short time playing.
On Tuesday afternoon, Neal Brown was asked if the run game has improved. Brown’s response was, “It better be.” Well, the Mountaineer running backs looked improved against EKU rushing for 329 yards as a unit. Leddie Brown and Alec Sinkfield both ran for 123 yards each. Brown made an impact right away, rushing the ball in the end zone twice, and scoring on a receving touchdown as well; already surpassing his touchdown total from 2019 (2). Sinkfield took over for Brown in the second half also rushing in two touchdowns. Brown and Sinkfield gave the Colonels’ defense headaches the entire game. In the fourth quarter, Tony Mathis Jr. was put in the game and also ran the ball well. Mathis Jr. rushed for 55 yards, also scoring once.
The receiving core made the job easier for Doege. Sam James caught five passes from Doege for 72 yards, with a 32-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Freshman Sam Brown didn’t play like a freshman. Brown had four catches for 43 yards, with a big 22-yard reception. The 6’2” receiver will be an impact player even as a freshman. Bryce Ford-Wheaton also found himself in the end zone on Saturday with 67 yards.
Even though Eastern Kentucky was shoutout by Marshall, they were able to put up 10 points against the Mountaineers. EKU quarterback, Parker McKinney threw for 9-of-17 with 131 yards and throwing the only Colonel touchdown in the second quarter to Keyion Dixon. McKinney also threw an interception to West Virginia’s Alonzo Addae. The Mountaineer defenders were able to get to McKinney and sack him four times. WVU was also able to hold EKU to only 75 rushing yards. It was an overall good day for the defense.
The only struggle the Mountaineers had on Saturday were mistakes leading to penalties. West Virginia was called on eight penalties resulting in 85 yards gained to Eastern Kentucky.
Neal Brown commented on the problem of penalties, “A lot were on special teams, we are not in the business to get selfish penalties.”
The West Virginia Mountaineers have the next week off to prepare for a date with the Oklahoma State Cowboys on September 26th in Stillwater, Oklahoma.