When the Mountaineers kick off against the EKU Colonels this week, they will do so with one goal in mind….shut them out.
Last week, Eastern Kentucky was smacked down by Marshall 59-0 in front of a limited capacity crowd in Huntington. The Colonels’ offense could never seem to piece together a solid drive, and often looked completely out of sync. The Herd lived in their opponent’s backfield, and held them to just 166 yards of total offense. Being that Marshall has nowhere near the talent of the Mountaineers, many expect the Old Gold and Blue to do the same this weekend. However, I am here to tell you that just will not be the case.
Yes, the Mountaineers will win comfortably, but expecting them to shut out and completely dominate the Colonels’ offense isn’t realistic. Eastern Kentucky now has a game under their belt, and will have the opportunity to make some corrections this week in practice. They have film, and will develop a better game-plan than the one they had against Marshall. All the while the Mountaineers will be stepping onto the field for the first time, and will still be attempting to work out issues of their own.
West Virginia will also be going into this contest without the services of former defensive coordinator Vic Koenning. Instead, Jordan Lesley and Jahmile Addae will share defensive responsibilities for the Mountaineers, and Saturday will be their first time in doing so. Though West Virginia has the talent to make up for Koenning’s absence, the defense will likely have kinks to work out with new play-callers.
The Colonels’ offense certainly isn’t lacking talent either, particularly with the running back position. Redshirt junior Alonzo Booth has the potential to play at the NFL level. Finishing with 14 touchdowns and 4.8 yards per carry in 2019, Booth can be a major threat in the power running game. While he and the EKU offensive line will have their work cut out for them against the Stills brothers, things could potentially get tricky if the Colonels reach the red zone.
Don’t expect Eastern Kentucky to score a lot, but certainly do not expect them to be kept off the board again this week. West Virginia will win the war, but a few battles throughout the game will be won by the Colonels. Eastern Kentucky will likely try to run the ball and keep the ball away from the Mountaineer offense as much as possible. A shut out would be nice, but I guarantee you the team is more concerned with beginning the season 1-0.