The Mountaineers trailed 12-10 at halftime to lowly Norfolk State, but they would not stay behind long when they broke out of the locker room for the second half.
In that half, WVU scored five touchdowns in less than 16 minutes and took an overwhelming 45-12 lead over the Spartans.
In that span, WVU scored all five of those scores in drives of 2:15 or less.
After a scary, nerve-racking 30 minutes, West Virginia showed for the first time this season that it has the capabilities to be just as good as Holgorsen’s former attacks.
“Obviously I’m not really pleased with the first half, but I was pleased with the second half,” the coach said. “We’re a young football team and inexperienced. I don’t know if we’re trying too hard or if it was a coaching error. Either way, I’m proud of the way we came out in the second half. We got a lot of great snaps, and hopefully it will make us a better team.”
Fans were able to see what I believed was there since spring ball – potential.
In the 55-12 win, WVU accounted for 533 yards of offense. That’s more than any offense coordinated by former coach Jeff Mullen had in three years at WVU.
Yea, and that was with one terrible, terrible half of football.
Mullen’s offenses only went for more than 500 yards once in his tenure. Holgorsen did it in his second game. And, he was pretty pissed off about it.
“There’s not a whole lot of satisfaction. We have a long ways to go,” Holgorsen said.
Sure, it’s not as consistent as you would like particularly against a Football Championship Division opponent, but the second half results surely do paint a nice picture for the future.
“This offense has been putting up points and numbers for 10 years now,” said WVU quarterback Geno Smith, who finished with the seventh-best passing total in school history. “It’s a mentality of wanting to go out and do it, be successful and be a team.”
Holgorsen has admitted that it took four games for his offense at Oklahoma State to truly open up and be one of the best in the country.
It can’t take that long this season, because the Mountaineers have two of their biggest tests of the season in two straight weeks when they face Maryland and LSU.
“No team is where they want to be right now,” Smith said. “We’re trying to figure out how good we’re going to be and who’s going to do what in certain situations. That’s just something that comes along with game reps. The more we play, the better we’ll get.”
The truth is, WVU put up some huge numbers despite lacking in many other statistical categories. The Mountaineers were just 4-of-11 on third down and had a nearly 10-minute disadvantage in time of possession.
Still, West Virginia got to the red zone a whopping nine times – and scored touchdowns on five of those possessions.
“We just have to go out there and have the mindset that this offense is good, and that we’re going to score points as long as we execute,” said running back Dustin Garrison.
If this team can put up an effort like it did in the second half against Norfolk State throughout a complete game, the Mountaineers will be scary good.
In fact, if they do it over the next two weeks – somehow – the Mountaineers are a top 10 team.