Koenning: Defense gets rid of “bad taste” by beating Wolfpack

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West Virginia held NC State to just six second half points in victory

Some WVU players said they were out for redemption in the lead up to Saturday’s game against NC State, looking to wipe away memories of a 31-point loss at Missouri. 

Yes, the offense struggled in that loss, but the defense was far from perfect as well — the coaching staff counted 22 missed tackles and five missed sacks against the Tigers, leading defensive coordinator Vic Koenning to joke that it looked like his players were “enjoying ‘The Golden Girls’” instead of playing football. 

Against the Wolfpack, the Mountaineers delivered a much more inspired performance on that side of the ball in a 44-27 win. West Virginia recorded seven tackles for loss, including three sacks, and held the Pack to just six total points over the final 33 minutes of the contest. 

Koenning said the performance was a major improvement from the week prior. 

“We coached them hard, we went back to being maybe a little bit more physical. It was what we needed to do to kind of get that bad taste out of our mouth for doing so poorly against Missouri.” 

The Mountaineers came up with two huge red zone stands in the third quarter — including one that came immediately after an Austin Kendall interception — holding the Wolfpack to field goals on both occasions. 

Koenning added that he’s never really happy after any victory, as no performance is ever perfect. But he did commend players like sophomore Dante Stills, who had two sacks in the game, for responding the way they did — echoing praise from head coach Neal Brown. 

“It’s 180 degrees from last week. After last week, there were still some question marks,” Koenning said. “But I think Coach Brown hit the nail on the head. I think he [Stills] can be as good was he wants to be.” 

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