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Norfolk State set forgettable records in loss to WVU
Norfolk State didn’t get the upset victory, but did leave Mountaineer Field record with upsetting history.
The Spartans, from the Football Championship Subdivision, set three Milan Puskar Stadium records in Saturday’s 55-12 loss to No. 19 WVU and were a party to two others. NSU was flagged 19 times for 177 yards and gave the West Virginia offense eight first downs by penalty.
“Don’t get me started,” said Spartans Coach Pete Adrian, a WVU lineman and linebacker of the late 1960s.
The two teams also combined for nine first downs by penalties and 262 penalty yards, 10 more than what WVU and Miami combined for in 1994.
Miami owned the previous record for penalties with 17 in that game. The Mountaineers had a record 158 yards in penalties against Temple in 1983. A team gave its opponent five first downs by penalty six times in field history, most recently by WVU against USF in 2008, but the Spartans beat that by three and that alone matched the combined record totals of WVU and Louisville in 2007 and WVU and Cincinnati in 1980, the first game at the stadium.
“If we are that stupid as players, then that’s the way it is,” Adrian said. “I’ll have to watch the film, but the officials are saying they did their job. We have to stop that if we are doing that.”
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SOMETHING ADRIAN and the Spartans did stop? The Mountaineers had just 110 yards rushing.
In two games, they have 152 yards on the ground.
“We didn’t really think they could run on us, which they couldn’t,” Adrian said.
Freshman Vernard Roberts led the way with 64 yards on 17 carries. Freshman Dustin Garrison had 19 yards on three carries. Freshman Andrew Buie, who had a collarbone injury against Marshall, ran four times for eight yards and had the only running play that lost yards. WVU had nine negative yardage running plays against the Thundering Herd.
“Running game, not good,” Coach Dana Holgorsen said. “We’re usually targeted right, but we’re not finishing blocks. We’re just not. Some of it is young running backs not hitting it like they need to. It’s not working right now. We need to get better.”
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BACKUP QUARTERBACK Paul Millard didn’t expect to play when WVU was training 12-10 at halftime, but 28 points in 18 plays in the third quarter changed his mind.
“He was eager to get in the game,” WVU quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital said. “He called me twice in the game to ask me when he was going to get in. I’m thinking about taking away his phone privileges.”
Millard made his collegiate debut when he relieved Geno Smith with 7:31 left in the fourth quarter and the Mountaineers ahead 48-12. The freshman from Flower Mound, Texas, who passed for 4,491 yards and 47 touchdowns as a high school senior, made the most of his time, beginning with a 1-yard run on his first play.
“It was an iffy snap, but he did the smart thing,” Spavital said. “Rather than have a bad exchange with the running back, he turned around and got positive yards, the dual-threat quarterback that he is.”
Millard had a slightly different version of the story. He said he fielded the snap and recovered before “I turned it on.” Spavital often tells Millard he is the “slowest runner in college football - jokingly.”
Millard ended his first drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Brad Starks on fourth-and-8.
“With our offense, you don’t want to go out there and not do what we do,” Millard said. “I got to go out there and run plays similar to what Geno ran all game.”
Millard finished 5-for-6 for 54 yards and the touchdown.
“I went up to him and said, ‘Congratulations on your first touchdown pass, on going 5-for-6,’” Spavital said. “He goes, ‘Yeah, and I had 5 yards rushing.”
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ROBERTS AND Garrison had their first career touchdown runs and Millard threw his first career touchdown pass. None of them kept the football.
“I forgot it,” Roberts said. “My teammates told me to keep it, but I forgot. I was in the middle of a touchdown celebration.”
Garrison had an eventful third quarter. On back-to-back plays he had a career-high 36-yard reception and a career-high 13 yard run. On the next drive he scored on a 1-yard run.
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ROBERTS AND receivers Ivan McCartney and Devon Brown made their first career starts. … WVU’s 55 points was the most in 42 games and best since a 66-21 win against Connecticut Nov. 24, 2007.
By Mike Casazza, Charleston Daily Mail