Head coach Dana Holgorsen promised to shake things up after WVU fell to Oklahoma last week. Holgorsen followed through on his promise by starting red shirt freshman, Ford Childress at quarterback against Georgia State.
Holgorsen's decision to start Childress was indeed a good one, Childress finished the day 25 for 41, 359 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Holgorsen's team showed a lot of overall improvement against Georgia State.
"Penalties went down, turnovers went down," said Holgorsen. "We're identifying guys we can trust and guys we can't trust, we're identifying guys who understand their roll."
The defense for WVU forced Georgia State to punt the ball on their first possession. The Mountaineers offense marched down the field with a strong run by Mario Alfred, on a 24-yard run. Childress' first pass as a starting quarterback fell incomplete and the Mountaineers were held to a field goal attempt. Josh Lambert kicked a 42-yard field goal to give the Mountaineers an early 3-0 lead.
The Mountaineers defense started the game with a solid performance and finished it with an even better one. The defense held Georgia State to only 84 yards through the air and 136 yards on the ground along with 3 sacks.
One player whose name was called on a couple of occasion was linebacker Jared Barber who admitted the team seemed to be a bit sluggish to start the game.
"First half we weren't really having fun, we were winning but we weren't really playing for the love of the game, [we were] just going through the motions," said Barber.
The Mountaineers second possession on offense looked excellent. With a good mix of pass and runs, Childress began to find his groove. Childress capped off the 11 play, 93-yard drive by tossing a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dakiel Shorts to give the Mountaineers a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
After countless opportunities against Oklahoma to make big plays, offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson was pleased to see Shorts get the score.
"It's good to see someone make a play, a single play," said Dawson.
The Georgia State defense finally forced WVU to go three and out. Childress was sacked to bring up fourth down. Georgia State's offense came out in their next possession and completed an outstanding pass. Quarterback Ronnie Bell completed a pass to wide receiver Robert Davis with heavy pressure in his face to give Georgia State a big gain and a first down. Their big play was short lived. The Mountaineers defense forced Georgia Sate to punt once again.
Childress came out firing during his next possession. Childress found Ronald Carswell for a 43-yard gain through the air. However, Childress fired to the wrong team soon after. Childress eyed down his receiver the entire time, he was intercepted by Georgia State's safety B. McClendon for WVU's first turnover of the game.
"Got my first touchdown, got my first pick everything's open now," said Childress when asked how he reacted to throwing an interception. "I was surprised by some of the looks that they gave us; we hadn't seen that before on film."
The Mountaineers defense bailed Childress out, another strong defensive stop for the Mountaineers forced Georgia State to punt.
WVU took to their run game after Childress' interception. Charles Sims who led the team on the day with 18 carries for 126 yards, looked great carrying the ball, but the Mountaineers were held to a field goal attempt. Lambert couldn't connect on a 53-yard attempt leaving the score at 10-0 in favor of the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers defense recorded their first sack of the game during the second quarter. Kyle Rose tackled Bell in the backfield for a loss.
After the defense forced another punt, the Mountaineers wasted no time on their next possession. After a 15-yard run by Dreamius Smith, Childress found Ivan McCartney in the end zone for a 45-yard bomb to give the Mountaineers a 17-0 advantage. The drive only took 2 plays and 60 yards for the Mountaineers to wrestle up some points. The Mountaineers would take this lead going into halftime.
The Mountaineers opened the second half with the ball, Sims led the charge but the Mountaineers were called for a chop block after converting a third and long. The Mountaineers attempted to go for it on fourth and three but were stopped by Georgia State. Childress was sacked on the fourth down attempt.
Georgia State's next possession occurred in a blink of an eye. In just one play, Travis Evans rushed for a 65-yard touchdown narrowing the deficient to 17-7.
The Mountaineers stalled on their first possession of the second half but managed to tack on three points during their second possession. Childress and company made their way down the field with the help of Sims who ran the ball well along with several solid passing gains. Lambert hit a 23-yard field goal to give the Mountaineers a 20-7 lead late in the third quarter.
After the Mountaineers defense came up with another sack, Georgia State punted once more. After successfully moving the ball down the field to conclude the third quarter, the Mountaineers would start the fourth quarter with a 32-yard touchdown run by Sims. The Mountaineers would lead 27-7 early in the fourth quarter.
The Mountaineers found their first forced turnover on the day; the Mountaineer's defense forced Georgia State's Jonathan Jean-Bart to cough up the ball. The fumble was recovered by Karl Joseph.
Childress and the offense took over and scored in a hurry. Childress found Dakiel Shorts in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown, Childress' third passing touchdown and Shorts' second receiving touchdown on the day. The Mountaineers poured on to their lead, 34-7.
Despite piling on the points, Dawson still seem upset with his team's play after the game.
"This group's frustrating, we can be good but everybody's taking an opportunity to shoot themselves in the foot," said Dawson.
The Mountaineers defense continued to stop the Georgia State offense while WVU's offense added another score to close out the game. Smith rushed for a 10-yard touchdown to give WVU a 41-7 victory over Georgia State.
The Mountaineers find themselves with a 2-1 record after beating Georgia State. The team will travel to play Maryland next week and will hope to build off their success and continue to minimize missed opportunities.