West Virginia has had its problems in the first two games since former quarterback Will Grier departed for the NFL, but the Mountaineers are particularly envious of the running attack of Saturday's visitors, North Carolina State. The Wolfpack churned out 309 yards on the ground in a 41-0 shutout over FCS foe Western Carolina, while West Virginia couldn't run for a second consecutive week in a humiliating 38-7 loss at Missouri.
The Mountaineers garnered only 34 yards on 24 carries in a 20-13 victory over FCS James Madison in the opener and followed with 30 yards on 32 attempts against the Tigers, the lowest two-game total to start a season for an FBS team since Washington State had 44 yards in 2014. "We've got to get movement and without watching the film I just know it was bad," offensive line coach Matt Moore said. "I don't know if it was miscommunication, whether it was guys trying too hard and falling down. ... We've got to go to work when we get home tonight and keep grinding." NC State rushed for 191 yards in its opening-day 34-6 triumph over East Carolina and followed that with its first shutout since 2015 (Eastern Kentucky) while extending its streak of consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown at home to 12 - the longest streak at Carter-Finley Stadium since 1990-91. Matt McKay completed 18-of-28 passes for 200 yards and a TD and freshman Zonovan Knight led a ground attack with 119 yards on 18 carries in his second game to become the fastest Wolfpack player to record a 100-yard effort since Tremayne Stephens did so in his first career game in 1994.
TV: Noon ET, Fox Sports 1. LINE: NC State -6.5.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (2-0): Freshman Jordan Houston found the end zone once while collecting 73 yards on eight carries as the Pack outgained the Catamounts 540-106 - their fewest yards allowed since 36 in a 65-7 win over Murray State in 2009. McKay has completed 43-of-65 passes (66.2 percent) for 508 yards with two TDs and no interceptions, but the sophomore has missed several open receivers down the field in the first two weeks. "It has to get a lot better," coach Dave Doeren told reporters Monday. "You're not going to run the ball for over 300 yards when you start playing these ACC teams if you can't throw the ball down the field. It's not going to happen."
ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (1-1): Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall was 15-of-25 for 137 yards with two interceptions and a 46-yard late TD to George Campbell, and the Mountaineers had at least one negative yardage play on nine of 11 offensive possessions with six starting with a loss. Missouri, which got 150 yards passing and three TDs from former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, outgained West Virginia 382 to 171, had a 26-13 advantage in first downs and scored on five of six first-half possessions to forge a 31-0 lead. "We were completely outplayed and outcoached in all phases," West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. "This is key, and I want you all to listen to me on this: I'm very disappointed in our performance, but I'm not discouraged. I want that to be heard loud and clear. I'm not discouraged."
1. The all-time series is tied 5-5 with the last meeting taking place in the 2010 Champs Sports Bowl. Last year's matchup was canceled due to the effects of Hurricane Florence.
2. Former Mountaineers defensive coordinator Tony Gibson is now a member of the Wolfpack coaching staff.
3. NC State PK Christopher Dunn has connected on 19 consecutive field-goal attempts dating to late season.