Morgantown, WV—-It was the first time West Virginia had played a home football game without attendance restrictions since the 2019 season and Neal Brown’s first at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The Mountaineers evened its record at 1-1 following an opening day 30-24 loss to the University of Maryland at the Capital One Field Stadium in Maryland.
It was the Mountaineers’ widest margin of victory since defeating Rutgers 80-7 on Nov. 3, 2001 and the most points scored in a game since defeating Baylor 70-63 on Sept. 29, 2012.
Even though West Virginia trounced Long Island University 66-0 Saturday before 50,911 fans, the Mountaineers have to get their running game back on track to be successful in the BIG 12 Conference.
The game was over soon as it began, LIU won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. The opening kickoff went to WVU’s Winston Wright Jr but it was over in a blink of an eye as he hit the ground running it 90 yards for a touchdown.
Everyone on the Mountaineers squad put in work, getting some quality time and live game experience. WVU scored on nine of 11 possessions and never punted.
Quarterback Jarret Doege led first-half touchdown drives of 80, 39, and 56 yards and two third-quarter touchdown scores before giving way to Garrett Greene and Will Crowder.
Doege completed 14 of 22 for 259 yards and three touchdowns, two of them going to receiver Sam James and the other a 39-dart to Sean Ryan. James’ first touchdown was an 18-yarder in the second quarter and his other covered 15 yards early in the third to put WVU ahead 52-0.
Greene, a redshirt freshman backup quarterback had more rushing yards than the Sharks had total yardage, finishing with 98, two yards shy of 100 benchmark.
Heisman hopeful running back Leddie Brown, who added two more touchdowns and now has five for the season had just 31 rushing yards in 15 carries. That’s averaging 2.1 yards a carry against a team that last week was destroyed by FIU.
Brown’s two scoring drives put the Mountaineers up 21-0 with just over two minutes left in the first, basically sealing the victory for WVU.
Greene took over quarterbacking duties for Doege in the third and capped off a 13 play, 69-yard drive with a three yard run off the zone read for his first career touchdown, putting the Mountaineers up 28-0.
Doege returned on the next drive and marched the Mountaineer offense down the field with ease, and found Sam James wide open in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown. WVU would go on to close out the half with a long 44-yard field goal from kicker Casey Legg to go up 38-0.
West Virginia head coach Neal Brown kept Doege on the field for the first two drives in the second half, both of which were capped off by touchdown passes — a 39-yarder to Sean Ryan and a 21-yarder to Sam James, before finally pulling the first team out of the game.
Long Island quarterback Camden Orth completed 11 of his 20 pass attempts for 60 yards. LIU’s long play from scrimmage was 13 yards on passes to Derick Eugene and Steven Chambers.
Other than one drive late in the second quarter and it’s final possession, LIU (0-2) spent the rest of the game on its side of the 50 yard line. The Sharks had only 95 yards of offense, becoming the first team since Rutgers in 2002 failing to get 100 total yards against the Mountaineers. The Mountaineers held the Scarlet Knights to just 90 total yards in a 40-0 win in Piscataway that day.
West Virginia gained 542 total yards, 193 of those coming on the ground.
At the conclusion of the first quarter, West Virginia University recognized the family of former quarterback Chris Gray, who perished in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center 20 years ago today. WVU also recognized the memory of former LIU players Bronko Pearsall and Keith Glascoe, the father of current Sharks tight end Owen Glascoe. Both were New York City firefighters who sacrificed their lives that day.
WVU physical and dominating offensive line have to do a better job in the coming weeks creating holes for Brown and company to run through or it is going to be a long year for the Mountaineers.
“This is a game we should win and we did,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “One thing I was proud of our team was we played quality football. It wasn’t sloppy. There were a couple of fourth downs we would have liked to have gotten offensively, but there weren’t a whole bunch of penalties so it was clean football and I was proud of them.”
The Mountaineers (1-1) will remain in Morgantown to face its boarder state rival Virginia Tech (2-0) next Saturday afternoon in a game that will kick off at noon and will be televised nationally on FS1, while LIU (0-2) will travel to Miami (Ohio).