MORGANTOWN — You've heard the term "this game was over before it started."
Well, West Virginia's 66-0 trouncing of Long Island University Saturday before 50,911 fans was as close as you could get to that being a true statement.
No one doubted from the moment the game was scheduled between the Mountaineers and the Sharks, an FCS opponent new to big time college football, who would win the game. The only question was what the final score would be, but no one really expected them to run Route 66 right over them.
How quickly was this one over?
It was over as quickly as Winston Wright Jr. could run 90 yards with the opening kickoff.
For the record, that's 11 seconds, which might tell you that the WVU wide receiver-slash-kickoff returner didn't have many obstacles to avoid along the way to his third kickoff return of at least 90 yards in two games.
Seven points in 11 seconds is a pretty tough pace to match for an entire game.
But WVU tried as it evened its record at 1-1 after an opening day loss to Maryland.
The Mountaineers, who played everyone but the cheerleading squad, and the only thing that kept coach Neal Brown from sending them in was that time ran out, scored on nine of 11 possessions.
The total yardage figures screamed out dominance — WVU 542 yards, LIU 95.
You read that right. The fact of the matter is that Garrett Greene, the redshirt freshman backup quarterback had more rushing yards than the Sharks had total yardage ... missing his first 100-yard rushing effort by just two yards, finishing with 98.
But there is something that makes that far more impressive because it came in a game when the WVU offensive line wasn't opening any holes to run through.
True, that's hard to believe in a 66-0 game.
Look at it this way. Running back Leddie Brown, who added two more touchdowns and now has five this year, managed just 31 rushing yards in 15 carries. That's averaging 2.1 yards a carry against a team that last week was thrashed by FIU, which averaged better than 12 yards per run.
"I'm not fired up about our running game, especially early," Neal Brown said. "Leddie got 15 carries, which is about what we wanted, but we would have liked to see him have some room to win."
That physical, dominating offensive line Neal Brown has been looking for must not have gotten off the team bus.
So the fact that Greene could scamper to the outside and make things happen when there was little there was important as it gives WVU an option ... a different offense than the one Jarret Doege runs as the starter.
"He has a flair," Brown said before the game when he revealed he'd put Greene in for the third series of the game — another signal the game was over before it started.
Doege had a solid game, a 207 quarterback rating, but that came against a defense that probably has a -207 rating, if there were such a thing. Doege completed 14 of 22 passes for 259 yards with three touchdowns, which is a huge step forward from the Maryland game.
"I just wanted to bounce back and make the routine plays. Against Maryland, I didn't make some of the routine plays," Doege said.
Greene, on the other hand, was four of six and passed for 57 yards.
But he showed the fans he is still a raw, improving prospect.
"We had a plan," Brown said, noting that he told him Monday when he would go into this game and that they scripted the plays he would run.
"We practiced only his set of plays," Brown said. "He did some good things. Was he perfect? Absolutely not. I don't know if on the first two drives he ran any of the plays the way they were supposed to be run, but he showed growth."
Brown took it easy on him, awaiting film review except ... "the one time he forgot to go on the field. It was the first time he played before fans here," Brown noted.
Greene wound up running for two touchdowns, as did Leddie Brown, while Sam James caught two touchdowns from Doege.
Doege's other TD pass was a 39-yard throw to Sean Ryan while L'Avarius Sparrow scored WVU's ninth and final touchdown.
And after it was over, Brown gathered his team around him with a message.
"Winning is hard," he said.
Then he added to that in his press conference.
"This was a game we should have won and did. We took care of business."
And that was important.
"We played quality football. It wasn't sloppy. It was clean football, so I was proud of them. It goes back to the feeling I had at Maryland. We did not perform the way we wanted. We missed an opportunity."
Over and done with, Brown is moving on.
"Now our chance for redepemption is Saturday against Virginia Tech. It's a rivalry game. It will be one of the biggest home games since I've been here. The atmosphere will be electric."
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