No. 22 WVU looks to rebound from loss to LSU against Bowling Green
Published: Thursday, September 29, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 29, 2011 23:09
Despite being 20-point favorites for Saturday's game against Bowling Green, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen is refusing to overlook an incoming team that has a respectable, high-powered offense of its own.
Sophomore Matt Schilz has thrown 14 touchdown passes this season, tying him for first nationally. The Falcons have compiled a 3-1 record thus far, coming fresh off of a 37-23 victory over Miami, the defending Mid-American Conference champions.
Led by third-year head coach Dave Clawson, the Falcons have been able to prosper offensively in much the same way the Mountaineers have – by throwing the ball.
"I've only watched bits and pieces of what they're doing this year," Holgorsen said.
"Coach Clawson is a good football coach. He's an offensive guy; he's a quarterbacks' guy."
Schilz is a legitimate big-time weapon at quarterback. He's thrown for 1169 yards, the bulk of which have been to senior wide receiver Eugene Cooper.
Cooper leads the team with six touchdown grabs and is second on the team in receptions (21) trailing fellow senior wide receiver Kamar Jordan (26, four touchdowns).
In the backfield for Bowling Green are a pair of runners who, despite splitting carries, have both boasted impressive numbers.
True freshman Anthon Samuel is averaging seven yards per carry, a statistic bolstered by his 96-yard touchdown scamper last week against Miami. Samuel, a game-time decision for Saturday, has rushed for 428 yards and three touchdowns.
Sophomore Jordan Hopgood serves as an excellent complement to Samuel, providing more of a power-based approach to his running. Hopgood has 195 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the season.
Having two every-down backs is a luxury most coaches in college football don't have , including Holgorsen.
"We're searching for guys that are every-down backs, which we don't have yet," he said.
Freshman Andrew Buie, who started the season atop the depth chart for West Virginia, is expected to return this week after missing the last due to injury.
Buie, who has rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown this season, will try to resolidify a place in the backfield that potentially found some stability after last weekend's performance by freshman Dustin Garrison.
Defensively, Bowling Green plays a 4-2-5 scheme that is filled with several young, inexperienced players.
Junior linebacker DeWayne Woods, who tallied the sixth most tackles (134) in the country last season, leads the defense with 29 tackles. He also had two sacks through four games.
The Falcons have a total of 25 underclassmen who could see playing time on Saturday, five of whom will start on defense.
"They're very young in the secondary, but they've got a good defensive line coming back," Holgorsen said.
Led by senior Kevin Moore and junior Chris Jones, BGSU‘s defensive front figures to challenge West Virginia's offensive line, which allowed zero sacks against LSU.
Jones leads the team with three sacks, one more than West Virginia's entire defense has.
Bowling Green's offensive line surrendered 34 sacks last year and has already given up 10 sacks through four games this season.
While the defense will be a mere shade of LSU's, Bowling Green still ranks 22nd
nationally in total defense and 11th in pass efficiency defense, a ranking the West Virginia offense will challenge on Saturday.
Holgorsen has spent the majority of this week adjusting special teams coverage, adding senior secondary members Keith Tandy and Eain Smith into the fold in an attempt to infuse some experience and ability into the units.
The Mountaineers will be challenged from the punter position for the second consecutive week with sophomore Brian Schmieddebusch.
Schmiedebusch is averaging 49.1 yards per punt, including eight punts that have traveled more than 50 yards.
This weekend, 25 former Mountaineer quarterbacks, including Bowling Green alumnus and former West Virginia head coach Don Nehlen, will be on hand in support of Don Nehlen Quarterback Scholarship Weekend.
An autograph session will take place at the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility from 2-2:45 p.m.
Among the former players that will be participating in the ceremony are Oliver Luck, Ed Pastilong, Major Harris, Rasheed Marshall and Pat White.