September 19, 2007

Nail or be nailed: Edge blockers make call

MORGANTOWN-For the last two seasons, Mountaineer head coach Rich Rodriguez thinks East Carolina has done the best job of stopping his team's run of the 22 opponents they faced in 2005-06.

In '05 on Mountaineer Field-pre-Slaton era-the Pirates (now 1-2) provided the Mountaineers 127 yards on 46 carries in a game in which WVU held off ECU, 20-15. Ex-Gold & Blue super back Pernell Williams carried 17 times for 55 yards. At hostile, humid Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium last year, coordinator Greg Hudson's boys held No. 10 to 80 yards on 24 carries. Rodriguez's team mustered just 153 rushing paces on 42 tries.

Enroute to an 11-2 season, WVU needed a 60-yard pass-and-catch from Pat White to Darius Reynaud and a 29-yard field goal by Pat McAfee to close the home team out.

That's about 23 points and 140 rushing yards in two games. Considering WVU ranks 2nd nationally in rushing for 2007 (344 yards per game) and All-American Slaton (131) is the NCAA's 13th leading rusher, this is saying something.

This year's team is averaging 47 points per game-9th best in the nation. Yet its high-water marks against the Pirates are 153 rushing yards and 27 points.

To say Hudson's defense has left a blue-print on how to stop the WVU ground game is an understatement. Everybody tries, but few do. But with athletes, ECU and USF come to mind.

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