Dan Mozes

WVU center Dan Mozes blocks during a game. Mozes was selected as the recipient of the Rimington Award as the nation’s best center after his senior season in 2006.

All-America center Dan Mozes says the offensive linemen liked the fact West Virginia had 29 first downs in its 42-10 victory over Marshall.

That total was the biggest against an NCAA Division I-A opponent in Rich Rodriguez’s five-plus seasons as head coach. WVU had 30 on Aug. 31, 2002, in the 56-7 win over Division I-AA Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Rodriguez said the 29 first downs indicated two things: Not many big plays but a sure sign of efficiency.

“That makes you feel good,” Mozes admitted this week. “No big, super plays. But we were eating the clock while gaining momentum.

“And as long as we had the ball, we were controlling the game. Getting a first down is really a good feeling.”

Mozes pointed out that WVU wants to score quickly sometimes, depending on the situation.

“But it’s a good thing to keep driving the ball,” he reasoned.

“Just being able to get first downs, first downs, first downs shows that we are doing what we’re supposed to do up front.

“We certainly want to make some big plays. But whenever we don’t, as was the case last Saturday, someone didn’t do his job on a certain play and allowed a guy to make the tackle.”

Mozes scoffed at the suggestion that the Mountaineers, ranked as high as No. 5 nationally, might take Eastern Washington lightly here Saturday.

“Every team is going to give you its best shot, no matter who you’re playing,” he said. “We believe Eastern Washington will give us its best shot.”

Mozes thinks WVU definitely will be ready for the 1 p.m. kickoff before a sellout crowd of 60,000.

“You go out and critique what you do individually on the offensive line, and you also critique what an opponent is doing on defense,” he said.

“Then you come out every day and practice against what they do and prepare accordingly for the game. If you do what you’re supposed to do, then you shouldn’t have to worry.”

Like Rodriguez, Mozes noted that the Mountaineers prepare the same for every game.

“We have high expectations, but for every game — not just one,” he said. “We want to rush for at least 200 yards in every game.

“It doesn’t make any difference who we’re playing. It could be the best team in America or a I-AA team. We just want to execute.

“If we dominate a team, so be it. We just want to win — period.”

When tailback Steve Slaton runs for 200 yards, as he did against Marshall, it means a lot to the O-line.

“He’s a great athlete,” Mozes said. “There were times when we didn’t make some blocks and he gained yards anyway.

“That just shows how great a player Steve really is. He’s so quick that he can do that if he gets a good block up front.”

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