WVU Football handled business and took care of Eastern Kentucky in their start to the 2020 college football season. WVU won 56-10 on Saturday behind stellar performances from quarterback Jarret Doege and an amazing rushing attack.
The junior QB completed over 75% of his passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Doege played so well that both backup Austin Kendall and Garrett Greene saw time behind center, as well.
While coach Neal Brown’s quarterback play was solid, it was the run game that truly carried the load.
WVU football rushed for over 300 yards on the day, with two players eclipsing the century mark. Both Leddie Brown and Alec Sinkfield gained 123 rushing yards along with two rushing touchdowns in the victory.
Tony Mathis Jr. added 55 yards, while Greene ran for 33 yards during his time at quarterback.
This was a breath of fresh air for an offense that couldn’t run at all last season. If the Mountaineers can continue having success on the ground, the game will be much easier for Doege and the defense.
Senior linebacker Tony Fields II led the way for the WVU defense. He totaled 10 tackles on the afternoon to lead the team.
Although the win for WVU was certain, the outcome at WV sportsbooks was much closer.
Depending on when you bet the game, the Mountaineers were laying around -42.5 points in the matchup.
Despite dominating, WVU wasn’t covering the spread the entire game until its fourth-quarter touchdown. The 16-play, 96-yard drive capped by Mathis Jr.’s three-yard score was the last of the game and sent WV backers off with a cover.
WVU football starts strong
The Mountaineers didn’t waste much time getting the scoring started on Saturday. Brown’s 10-yard touchdown run completed their first drive after just four plays.
WVU moved 82 yards in just over a minute and a half to get on the scoreboard first. It didn’t look back after that.
Eastern Kentucky got in the end zone to cut the score to 21-7 in the second quarter, but that was its only touchdown.
The Mountaineers responded with three straight touchdowns to close out the half up 42-7.
They coasted the rest of the way, running the ball often in the second half.
In total, the offense had an incredible first game. It totaled more than 600 yards and 31 first downs, all without committing a turnover.
It seemed as if the entire team had a hand in the winning effort, too. Ten players caught a pass, with explosive sophomore Sam James leading the team.
He caught five passes for 72 yards and a touchdown in the opener.
Three other Mountaineers chipped in with four receptions. Bryce Ford-Wheaton tallied 67 yards and a score late in the second quarter.
EKU had a tough time in West Virginia for the second weekend in a row. After losing by 59 to Marshall, the Colonels will leave the state after going down by a combined 115-10.
Junior running back Alonzo Booth and senior Keyion Dixon stood out for EKU.
Booth rushed for 45 yards on just seven carries, while Dixon caught three passes for 53 yards and a score.
The schedule gets much easier for the Colonels, as they’ll match up with The Citadel on Sept. 26.
On the other hand, WVU has a bye week before kicking off its very difficult slate in the Big 12 Conference.
Looking ahead to Oklahoma State
WVU’s first conference game in 2020 is on the road at Oklahoma State. The team has an extra week to prepare for this one, with all-conference play in the Big 12 beginning on Sept. 26.
This game should prove to be much tougher, as the Cowboys enter their first contest of the year ranked 11th in the AP Top 25.
They’re the third-highest ranked team in the Big 12, behind No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 9 Texas.
Oklahoma State finished 2019 with an 8-5 record, going 5-4 in the conference. It’s looking to take a step up this season and contend for the Big 12 title.
Part of why OSU is so high in the rankings is Heisman Trophy hopeful running back Chuba Hubbard.
The junior had an amazing campaign a year ago. Hubbard ran for over 2,000 yards and scored 21 rushing touchdowns. He also was fourth on the team in receptions, grabbing 23 passes for almost 200 more yards.
There’s no question Hubbard will be the center of the Oklahoma State attack and where WVU will be focusing defensively.
The problem with slowing down the Cowboys’ running game is that it also involves quarterback Spencer Sanders. He’s more than capable of running himself, notching more than 600 yards on the ground, while averaging 4.5 yards per carry last year.
If the Mountaineers want a chance to win, they’re going to have to at least contain the massive chunk gains. Forcing Sanders to beat their defense down the field on third downs will be crucial.
Oklahoma State hasn’t played yet, but it does this Saturday against Tulsa. You can guarantee WVU will be watching closely, looking to gain any possible advantage.
ESPN’s Football Power Index doesn’t love the Mountaineers’ odds of winning. It gives them around a 25% probability of snagging the upset next weekend.
College football betting odds at WV sportsbooks
Wagering on the college football season is easier than ever in WV. The state now features five mobile betting platforms. They are:
- DraftKings Sportsbook WV
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- BetMGM WV Sportsbook
- William Hill Sportsbook
- betly Sportsbook
Bettors can utilize any of these options all season long for their football betting needs, among many other sports.
Even though there isn’t a line posted for WVU’s next game yet, sportsbooks do have futures odds available. These will continue to update throughout the year.
According to DraftKings, here are the current odds to win the Big 12 Conference:
- Oklahoma -143
- Texas +135
- Oklahoma State +650
- Iowa State +1400
- TCU +1600
- WVU +2500
- Baylor +3300
- Kansas State +6600
- Texas Tech +8000
- Kansas +25000