West Virginia-Delaware State: Match-Ups And Position Previews

The Individual Unit Battles As The Mountaineers Host The Hornets


West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen leads his team to the locker room
West Virginia rushing offense
vs. Delaware State run defense
DSU had one of the worst defenses against the run last year (263.4 ypg) in the FCS ranks, and it doesn’t look much better so far in 2017, having allowed 226 yards in its opening loss to cross-state rival Delaware. Every Hornet opponent in the last season+ has rushed for more than 160 yards against DSU and nine of the 12 have gone for over 200. Against a defense like that, West Virginia should have no problem finding plenty of running room.
Advantage – West Virginia

West Virginia passing offense
vs. Delaware State pass defense
In comparison to its rushing defense, the Hornets’ pass D is downright stingy, allowing 208 yards over the last 13 games. Still, DSU’s only FBS opponent in that stretch, Missouri, threw for 430 yards and six TDs. Of course, the Tigers also ran for 268 yards, so it’s not like DSU was better there. WVU’s Will Grier could probably shatter plenty of records if Dana Holgorsen leaves him in the game for a lengthy period. And while it wouldn’t hurt Grier to continue to knock off some rust, backup Chris Chugunov also needs reps.
Advantage – West Virginia
 
Delaware State rushing offense vs.
West Virginia run defense
For the sake of competitiveness, I’d like to tell you that the Hornets’ offense is significantly better than their defense. But I can’t. DSU has averaged 128 rushing yards over its last 13 games, which includes 252 vs. Howard last year and 332 vs. Florida A&M. But Mizzou limited the Hornets to 44 yards on the ground. WVU’s defense against the run is still a work in progress, as its young line is gaining experience. But Delaware State shouldn’t present a problem.
Advantage – West Virginia

Delaware State passing offense vs.
West Virginia pass defense
DSU typically throws the ball a bit better than it runs it, averaging 163 yards a game through the air over the last season+. But again, if you compare apples to apples, the Hornets have it tough. DSU threw for only 96 yards on Missouri last year. West Virginia’s pass defense had some critical breakdowns in its opener against Virginia Tech, and Delaware State should give the Mountaineers a chance to improve on their fundamentals in a game situation.
Advantage – West Virginia

Delaware State special teams vs.
West Virginia special teams
Often FCS programs have issues on special teams, because they don’t have the scholarship numbers to recruit quality kickers/punters or have the depth for good coverage/return units. But DSU was solid in most special teams areas in its opener. WVU’s special teams still is badly in need of polishing, but the better athletes and superior numbers should prevail here for a potential clean sweep.
Advantage – Even
Intangibles
This is the first time WVU has faced Delaware State, though the Mountaineers are 14-0 all-time against FCS teams. DSU is on the lower end of the FCS tier, having lost 13 straight games and 26 of its last 27. The Hornets haven’t defeated an FBS foe since a 1987 win over Akron, and they have been outscored 269-26 in the five most recent FBS games, including 142-6 against their two Power 5 foes (79-0 vs. Missouri and 63-6 vs. Michigan).
Advantage – West Virginia
 
Prediction
As moms say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” If I followed that rule, this page would be blank. Quite simply Delaware State is not very good. In fact, the Hornets are likely the worst football team the Mountaineers have faced in at least 50 or 60 years. WVU should be able to name the score.
Predicted Score
West Virginia 63, Delaware State 7