You only get to make a good first impression once. West Virginia, Ohio State and Marshall all got the 2008 football season off to a winning start.
West Virginia: A 48-21 winner over Villanova
First things first. The defense was nothing to write home about. The defense did not get a single 3 and out all game long. Villanova won the time of possession, but the Mountaineers won that all important scoreboard stat. Mortty Ivy did step up and make big plays. His fumble recovery and long run set up the Mountaineers first touchdown of the game. And he finished off the WVU scoring by returning an interception 29 yards for a touchdown.
But the Mountaineer "D" will have to tighten it up as they get ready to take on an East Carolina team that knocked off the Hokies.
The Mountaineer offense took flight on "Air Stewart". Bill Stewart said the passing game was going to be a bigger part of his offense this year....and he was true to his word.
Pat White showed that he is not just a "running quarterback". The softspoken senior let his left arm do the talking for him. He connected on 25 out of 33 passes ...including 5 for touchdowns. All those stats are career highs. His performance also moved him past Marc Bulger into first place in the WVU record books for all purpose yards. It is hard to put into words what Pat White has meant to this program. He's a leader. He's a winner. And just maybe he'll be West Virginia's first Heisman Trophy winner.
How about the Mountaineer receiving corps. Alric Arnett catchs 2 touchdown passes in his first career start. Jock Sanders also found the endzone twice.
Its amazing watching Sanders and running back Noel Devine. With their speed, they're a legitimate threat to score every time they touch the ball.
The game also marked the Mountaineer debut of Josh Jenkins. The All American lineman out of Parkersburg high, saw action with the first offensive line. Afterward Josh was pumped and said the experience was like a dream come true. We'll have a story on Josh's first MountaIneer moments posted to our webchannel this week.
I also saw former Patriot Cody Nutter, and ex-Yellowjacket Travis Buttrey on the Mountainer sidelines. Another 'Jacket. Benji Powers, is also in a Mountaineer uniform his fall.
Ohio State- A 43-0 winner over Youngstown State
You hate to win a game and lose a Heisman Trophy candidate in the process. Buckeye fans had their hearts in their throats watching their star running back Chris Beanie Wells being carted off the field in the third quarter. As of this blogging, we don't know how serious the injury is for the junior. One player does not a team make. But Beanie Wells is a special back, and if he is on the shelf, or isn't 100 percent, it will make the Big Ten race alot tougher.
The game also marked the debut of quarterback Terrelle Pryor. He was the top recruit in the country. And he made a safe and successful debut against the Penguins. He it four relatively short passes, and Pryor also ran for 52 yards, including an 18 yards touchdown. Ohio State fans got a sneak peek into what should be a bright future for Pryor.
The Buckeyes did everything they were supposed to do against an overmatched oppoment. except lose a star running back.
Next week they are back in action at home against Ohio University
Marshall: A 35-10 winner of Illinois State:
A much needed good start for coach Mark Snyder and his Thundering Herd. I didn't see this game, just the highlights.
Redshirt freshman Marc Cann may someday join he ranks of great Marshall quarterbacks that the Herd has had over the last 25 years. He just got his starting assignment earlier this week. And he made he most of the opportunity. He had a solid debut with 11 completions in 22 attempts for 161 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Cann's favorite Target was receiver Darius Passmore (sounds like he should be a quarterback), He caugh both touchdown passes, including an 88 yard bomb.
The Herd running game was solid as well. Another Darius, an aptly named Darius Marshall, rushed for 115 yards on 20 carries.
Defensively, its good to see Albert McClellan back on the football field. After missing all of last season with a knee injurty, the all conference defensive end got back at it with a pair of sacks.
Now it gets interesting for the Herd. They continue their tradition of a big name non-conference opponent schedule when they travel to play the Wisconsin Badgers next week.
Ohio- Loses on the road to Wyoming 21-20
The Bobcats go out to Cowboy Country and get saddled with a 21-20 defeat by Wyoming. The Bobcats made some big plays, but the Cowboys went on a game winning touchdown drive midway through the 4th quarter to seal the deal.
Donte Harden set a new school record when he returned a kickoff back 100 yards for a Bobcats touchdown.
Quarterback Theo Scott came out firing. He hit on 26 of 35 passing for 224 yards and a touchdown. The Bobcats need to find a running game. The leading rusher only gained 30 yards.
Coach Frank Solich and the Bobcats are headed to Columbus next week. Their objective is play hard, keep healthy, and cash that BIG game check.
Oh...and speaking of first impressions: Utah 25 Michigan 23. Welcome to the Big House Richrod!