Tempo Bothersome For ECU, But Not As Much As Grier
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia’s 56-20 over East Carolina Saturday suggests a mismatch of more than modest proportions.
But Pirates’ receiver Jimmy Williams doesn’t think there’s much disparity in talent between the teams.
“They’re a great team but I think we’re a great team,” Williams said. “There’s not much difference in talent.”
So what was the difference? According to Williams, some of the Pirates’ players haven’t been able to transfer their skills from the practice field to the actual games. It’s the reason ECU has dropped its first two games, Williams said.
“If you watch (West Virginia) they had all 11 guys doing their job,” Williams said. “We didn’t have all 11 doing their job. Certain players might not be ready for game time, honestly. You can’t have three good plays and then one bad one — that screws up the offense.”
‘Screwed up,’ is an apt description, at least for the Pirates’ offense in the first half.
After driving 70 yards on on 15 plays on their first possession, Jake Verity’s field goal cut West Virginia’s lead to 7-3, But while the Mountaineers found the end zone on each of their first five drives to build a 49-3 halftime lead, the Pirates were unraveling thanks to penalties, dropped passes and miscues.
On their next possession following the field goal, ECU lost five yards on a fumble and never got on track. A 15-yard penalty for an illegal block scuttled the Pirates next drive and Thomas Sirk tossed an interception — one of two by WVU safety Kyzir White — on their next possession.
“We came in with a great game plan, they coached us up this week,” Williams said. “I thought we were well prepared, we just didn’t execute.”
It was business as usual for the Pirates when Joe Carter was penalized for targeting on a punt in the second quarter. Carter was ejected from the game and WVU moved downfield quickly and cashed in with a Mike Molina field goal.
“Every single person needs to do their job every single play,” ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said, echoing Williams’ sentiments.
The Pirates used two quarterbacks: Sirk completed 16-of-34 passes with one touchdown and two interceptions. Gardner Minshew hit on 7-of-13 passes for 137 yards, with the game already decided.
Neither matched the dominance of WVU’s Will Grier, who tossed five touchdown passes and finished the day 19-of-25 for 352 yards. Grier gave way to Chris Chugunov late in the third quarter.
“He was extremely accurate,” Montgomery said of Grier. “I thought he played as well as any quarterback we’ve played against in a long time. You’ll have people say you have guys running wide open but you still need to hit those guys. He was hard for us to cover today.”
Eleven different players caught passes for the Mountaineers (1-1), who finished with 619 yards of total offense.
Along with Grier’s arm, Montgomery said the Mountaineers’ pace was hard to adjust to.
“Their tempo bothered us a lot,” he said, “but not as much as their quarterback making unbelievable throws.”