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West Virginia vs. Auburn Saturday Night ESPN

9/19/09

The West Virginia Mountaineers have been solid this season. They are a perfect 2-0, with a victory over East Carolina. Things arent going to get easier though. They have to face the Auburn Tigers, a team that is also perfect after their first two games. The Mountaineers won last years meeting by a score of 34-17. Needless to say, Auburn will be out for revenge. This game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 at 7:45 on Saturday. This is one game you wont want to miss!

The Auburn offense is clicking very well, as they won 49-24 last week over Mississippi State. RBs Ben Tate and Onterio McCalebb stole the show. Both of them rushed for over 100 yards with each picking up a TD along the way. QB Chris Todd played a good game, throwing for 186 yards. WR Darvin Adams was his best weapon, picking up 116 yards on 5 catches. The Tigers picked up 589 total yards, 390 of which came on the ground. Auburn scored early and often and put Mississippi State out of the game very quickly. Doing the same to the Mountaineers could demoralize them and help get the victory.

Many fans were skeptical when Gene Chizik arrived to coach the Tigers, but he has done a good job so far. This will be the first real test for his team. Antonio Coleman will wreak havoc at DE. He is among the best pass rushers in the entire NCAA. The defense looks tough on the whole, with play makers like LB Josh Bynes and CB Walter McFadden. RBs Ben Tate and Mario Fannin can make things happen on the offensive side of things. They have an improved offensive line blocking for them. The passing game is also strong. Im a bit worried about depth at many positions. If there are any injuries this team could be in big trouble. The kicking game has had trouble, so that could put pressure on the offense to go after the TD.

Some fans in West Virginia had questions about Jarrett Browns ability to replace Pat White at QB. All questions were removed when he threw for 334 yards and 4 TDs in last weeks victory over the East Carolina Pirates. That game was supposed to be close, but the Mountaineers ended up taking the event by a score of 35-20. RB Noel Devine is among the best players at West Virginia, and picked up 80 yards and a TD. He had a long run of 30 yards. WR Jock Sanders played well, picking up 99 yards from 9 catches. WR Bradley Starks was also formidable, making 5 catches for 76 yards, with a long catch of 55 yards.

The defense played well in this game, but Id like to see the offense turn the ball over less. They also need to cut down on penalties. They turned the ball over 4 times last week, and were penalized 11 times for 109 yards. Those are unnecessary mistakes that will cost them wins down the road. Brown and Devine are key parts to the offense, and if they both play bad then the chances of West Virginia winning will go down. Their success could depend on an offensive line that has held up well thus far, but is contending with the loss of All American Ryan Stanchek. The Mountaineers struggled on the road last year, losing to East Carolina and Pittsburgh. They will have to prove they can handle traveling in this game.

Not the easiest game to handicap with both teams having beat up on lesser opponents, both at home, so far. Auburn has probably looked a little better than WVA with this offense finally clicking. Auburn has a chance to settle 6 scores from a year ago, a 5-7 season, and the first chance at revenge comes Saturday against the Mountaineers. We'll lay the 7 here with the Tigers.

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