No. 8 WVU rolls 42-12 over James Madison

By Cody Schuler

The Daily Athenaeum, West Virginia U. via UWIRE

Keeping with the theme of the season’s first victory, the No. 8 West Virginia football team got off to a fast start, broke records and erupted on offense in Saturday’s 42-12 victory of James Madison at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Never before in program history has a team scored more points in three consecutive games (169) than West Virginia has in its previous three contests.

Senior quarterback Geno Smith continued his stunningly accurate play and all-out assault on West Virginia’s record books, completing 34-of-39 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns – eclipsing Marc Bulger’s previous program record of 8,153 career passing yards.

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen was pleased with Smith’s play and noted that, despite his early season success, Smith still can improve.

“He needs to keep making everyone around him better,” he said.

“He is doing a great job of making checks. He’s getting us in the right plays, his completion percentage is off the charts and he’s not taking sacks – (but) we have to clean some (things) up.”

Holgorsen said James Madison was “who we thought they were,” complimenting them on their resiliency after the game.

“I give a lot of credit to James Madison,” he said. “A lot of stuff that I said throughout the week was very evident when it comes to a very disciplined football team that plays hard.

“When we got up 28-0 they didn’t pout, they didn’t fold or do anything but keep playing – that’s a tribute to James Madison’s program. They do things right.”

Holgorsen said he was happy with how his team played and with the fact that they have improved for the second straight game.

“I’m proud of our guys. I think we got better on all three sides of the ball,” he said. I’m happy with how we took care of the football for the second week in a row. It’s good to be 2-0 and we’ll learn a lot from this game.

Redshirt junior wide receiver Stedman Bailey paced West Virginia with a school record 13 catches for 173 yards and three touchdowns.

Bailey’s three scores are tied for second-most in a single game in school history, and he became the first player to register more than 150 yards receiving and three touchdowns in a single game.

Senior inside receiver Tavon Austin got in on the fun as well, grabbing 11 catches for 113 yards and a score. James Madison head coach Mickey Matthews said the trio of Mountaineers did not surprise him with their statistical outputs.

“My hat goes off to them – I mean it wasn’t surprising how well they played,” he said. “Offensively, I think they have a very good football team. I think they are terrific on offense – specifically, those three guys (Smith, Bailey and Austin) are great players.”

Redshirt freshman Dante Campbell made his first career catch count when he snagged a 4-yard pass from Smith in the second quarter – joining redshirt freshman wide receiver K.J. Myers as the second Mountaineer to perform the feat this season.

Nine different Mountaineers caught a pass in the win – besting the high of seven that West Virginia tallied in the win over Marshall.

The Dukes were able to pile up 188 yards on the ground – 67 more than West Virginia finished the game with. Redshirt junior running back Jordan Anderson led the effort with 75 yards rushing on 17 carries.

Redshirt sophomore running back Jauan Latney picked up the Dukes’ only touchdown of the game on a 20-yard run with less than one minute to play in the fourth quarter.

James Madison was in a position to score with ten minutes to play in the third quarter but was stopped cold on four consecutive plays inside the five-yard line.

On the ensuing possession, senior running back Shawne Alston was tackled in the end zone, resulting in a safety – the first West Virginia has given up since Dec. 27, 2008.

Alston scampered in from two-yards out on the Mountaineers’ first drive – one that saw West Virginia gain 50 yards on the ground. Alston would finish the game with a team-high 62 yards rushing.

The West Virginia offense found the end zone on its first four drives – sprinting out to a 28-0 lead with 10:15 remaining in the second quarter. It was the opposite of what Matthews wanted to see.

“That was exactly what we told our players we didn’t want to do – we didn’t want to let them get going,” he said.

“We just couldn’t move the ball in the first quarter, and they had a couple of third-down conversions.”

Redshirt junior Tyler Anderson – a Morgantown, W.Va., native – tallied the Mountaineers’ lone turnover on an interception; West Virginia also finished with a season-high four sacks.

The game’s attendance was reported as 45,511.

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