West Virginia Football: Dana Holgorsen, Geno Smith Win Big in 2nd Half vs NSU

Daniel KablackCorrespondent IIISeptember 10, 2011

Geno Smith lead the Mountaineers with a 371 yard, 4 touchdown performance
Geno Smith lead the Mountaineers with a 371 yard, 4 touchdown performanceChris Graythen/Getty Images

MORGANTOWN, WV - When West Virginia Mountaineer's fans walked into Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday, they fully expected to see a high scoring, offensive attack against Norfolk State.

They would have to wait until the second half to witness it, but it was well worth the stay.

West Virginia put up 45 points in the second half of the game vs. Norfolk State Saturday afternoon in Morgantown en-route to a 55-12 win.

But the first half of play between the Mountaineers and the Norfolk State Spartans was completely unexpected.

West Virginia had issues getting the ball moving on offense, Geno Smith was not completing the necessary passes, the run game was non-existant and the offensive line was atrocious.

These were all problems previously discussed, but against a team like Norfolk State, they really began to worry Mountaineer faithful.

Those faithful, let Dana Holgorsen hear their displeasure heading into the locker room at half-time down 12-10 with a roar of boos.

Holgorsen was clearly unhappy with the offensive effort when he was brought aside for a quick interview before he entered the locker room.

Whatever he told the West Virginia offense during half-time must have worked.

The Mountaineers lead by Geno Smith, took the field in the 3rd quarter and put up 28 points in just 15 minutes, two of them passing touchdowns. Most of his 371 yards and four total touchdowns on the day would come in the second half of the game.

The action wouldn't stop there as the Mountaineers continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter, tallying up another 17-points including a touchdown pass by freshman quarterback Paul Millard.

The 55 points scored is the highest single-game point total for the Mountaineers in the past three seasons.

West Virginia had a variety of issues in the first half, nothing new to West Virginia Mountaineers fans who have seen so many slow starts over the past few seasons. Many of them were hoping those issues would be gone with the arrival of new head coach Dana Holgorsen, but it seems the Mountaineers still have some issues to iron out.

Holgorsen made some expected changes at half-time, having Geno Smith play some shorter drops in order to get the ball out of his hands quicker.

The changes helped the Mountaineers complete more passes, tired out the Spartan's defense and opened up some lanes in the middle to help support a much needed running game.

The normal Holgorsen run plays were now picking up more yardage for the Mountaineers, plays that were previously being stopped in the backfield.

Holgorsen still doesn't seem to have a favorite running back electing to use a committee of running backs throughout the game. 

Everything was clicking when Geno Smith was pulled from the game late in the fourth quarter. Freshman quarterback Paul Millard took the field to an ovation of fans and didn't disappoint.

Millard finished his only real drive of the game completing 5-of-6 passes for 60 yards and one touchdown on a spectacular 30-yard pass into the corner of the endzone for Bradley Starks.

Though West Virginia has some obvious issues at offensive line that will need to be addressed soon, Holgorsen has shown that he can get his offense to adapt to changing game conditions, tweaking and fiddling with plays until they show results.

A coach who can think dynamically is a coach who can win anywhere.

West Virginia will take on Maryland and their new head coach, former UConn Huskies' coach Randy Edsall next week, a team coming off a victory over the Miami Hurricanes.


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