Mountaineers cruise past defenseless Pirates
MORGANTOWN – The high and wispy clouds that lazily drifted past Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium weren’t meant to be reminders of the East Carolina defense – but they were.
West Virginia scored with its first five possessions of the football-perfect afternoon against the paper-thin East Carolina defense, pillaging the Pirates for 49 first-half points, before bringing on a horde of reserves that used the last half in an attempt to impress the Mountaineer coaching staff.
With nearly 500 yards of first-half total offense, the Mountaineers refused to give future opponents any insights as to what measures they’ll try in remaining games, simply playing out the string in winning, 56-20, over an East Carolina team that had been staggered the previous Saturday in a 34-14 loss to James Madison University.
The 49-3 lead at the half gave the shirtsleeve, Gold Rush crowd of about 52,000 their first homefield look at transfer quarterback Will Grier and prodigal son wide receiver David Sills, who has come back to the Mountaineer team after once leaving for other pastures.
Grier, protected well by his offensive line, produced five touchdowns with his arm and completed 19 of his 25 mostly well-aimed passes for 352 total yards. Grier was on the sidelines only minutes into the third quarter as West Virginia firmly placed its offense on cruise control for the game’s final 22 minutes.
Sills had three touchdown catches among his seven receptions that counted for 153 yards, the longest being a 72-yard scoring catch-run on a perfectly throw ball from Grier.
Justin Crawford had his second 100-plus yard game of the infant season, carrying 15 times for 118 yards and two scores.
Once the Pride of West Virginia band vacated the field after entertaining with its pre-game pageantry and well-received music, it was all offense for the game’s opening half. Leading, 49-3, at intermission, the Mountaineers had racked up over 450 yards of total offense by the time the band pretzeled its way into an outline of the state.
Beyond halftime, West Virginia reserves played copious minutes – mostly against East Carolina’s starters.
Few took East Carolina’s 17 second-half points seriously, and fewer still looked forward to this week’s home game against Delaware State. Next week, WVU moves to Big 12 Conference play against weak-sister Kansas. And afterward its on to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas Christian to see what the Mountaineers have to offer in anticipated offensive skirmishes against league brothers.