Holgorsen Breathes Sigh Of Relief

Mountaineers set to face N.C. State

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen breathed a sigh of relief following Saturday night’s 59-17 victory over FCS member Youngstown State.

Not only had his No. 14 Mountaineers (2-0) overcome a game-long deluge from Mother Nature, but a Penguins squad (0-2) that were still feeling the ill-effects of a season-opening loss to Butler.

“(I’m) glad this week is over, honestly,” Holgorsen said. “It was just kind of a tough week for all of us after coming off that big win last week. We talked all week about respecting our opponent, which I think we did. At the end of the day, we got through with a victory.

“Coach (Bo) Pelini is a really good football coach, he did some things defensively that had us kind of scrambling a little bit early. The kids played hard, his group played hard. We expected that, we got that, (and I’m) glad we got that. It’s going to make us better. (I’m) looking forward to putting this behind us and moving forward. Goal was to be 2-0 and we’re 2-0, so I’m happy with that.”

With the victory the Mountaineers begin preparations to take on a N.C. State squad that is also 2-0 after a 41-7 win over a visiting Georgia State team.

Senior quarterback Ryan Finley completed 31 of 38 attempts for the Wolfpack for 370 yards and two touchdowns — eight going to Kelvin Harmon for 129 yards and nine going to Thayer Thomas for 114 yards and one touchdown.

“(The defense) was pretty good,” Holgorsen said. “We’re allergic to turnovers again. We had a couple. Did we get any?

“(Redshirt senior safety) Drayvon (Askew-Henry) got one; that was a heckuva catch by Drayvon, too. (Redshirt junior cornerback Josh) Norwood caused the fumble and it went right in to Hakeem Bailey’s hands, and then he dropped it. Then Kenny (Robinson, Jr.) had that thing and just lost it.

“(They were) pretty solid. They were averaging about 4 yards a play at halftime. We gave up one drive. Penalties are probably the biggest thing that we have to identify. (We had) way too many penalties. I don’t even want to look at it, honestly. Overall (we) played OK, but nothing spectacular. I didn’t really know what to say to them at halftime other than to just go out there and finish the game because we weren’t doing anything spectacular on either side of the ball. We weren’t doing anything terrible, either.”

The Mountaineers, who were next to last in the Big 12 a year ago in penalties, were flagged 12 times for 114 yards while YSU was whistled eight times for 65 yards.

“I don’t know,” Holgorsen said. “That’s a good question. We weren’t penalized at all last week, and then this week, it was bad. I was talking with the referees out there, and they felt we were doing some uncharacteristic things that they haven’t seen out of us in the past few years. I don’t know if it’s technique. I don’t think it was effort. I don’t think our effort was bad. I don’t know, but we have to look at it. It’s not good. We didn’t play smart.”

In other game news:

∫ There were two first-time starters for West Virginia against Youngstown State; redshirt sophomore Chase Behrndt (RG) and redshirt freshman Alec Sinkfield (RB).

∫ WVU’s 99-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter was its first since Sept. 24, 2016, against BYU.

∫ The Mountaineers defense held the Penguins without a pass completion until the 12:41 mark of the second quarter.

∫ West Virginia’s game at N.C. State will be televised at 3:30 p.m. on either ESPN or ESPN2.


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