Injuries mounting as Georgia State comes to Morgantown

MORGANTOWN -When the Panthers of Georgia State invade Milan Puskar Stadium for the first time at noon on Saturday they will encounter a Mountaineer football team still in search of a starting quarterback and wide receivers that will make more plays than mistakes and a team bruised and battered after a 16-7 loss at No. 15 Oklahoma.

“It was a physical game,” WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said during Tuesday’s press conference. “We told them (the players) all week that it was going to be physical. There’s going to be injuries in every game you play.

“We knew both teams were going to run the ball a good bit. It’s no surprise that we got banged up a little bit. K.J. Dillon has a little bit of a knee issue; he’s day-to-day. Doug Rigg is fine. He’s still a little foggy, but he’s going to be fine. He’s day-to-day, and he will be questionable.

“We haven’t ruled anyone else out.”

The third year coach also hasn’t ruled anyone out in the ongoing quarterback battle that witnessed incumbent Paul Millard hold off the challenges of Florida State transfer Clint Trickett and redshirt freshman Ford Childress during the summer to earn starts against William & Mary and the Sooners last Saturday night.

However, a subpar performance in the team’s first loss of 2013 reopened the competition.

“We will see how their (the quarterbacks’) attitudes are,” said the coach. “Meeting is at 2:30, and we will see how they are in warmups. We can’t put two of them out there at once so someone’s name has to be called., they’ll have to go out, and we will see how they do.

“The difference with where we are at now is that Ford (Childress) will have reps, and he hasn’t had reps the past three weeks.”

Working on the passing game might be on the coach’s agenda, but, with the Panthers’ fielding a defense that is surrendering 253 yards per game, it might be more prudent to just pound out a victory over one of the NCAA’s newest Division I members.

“I think we are closer on offense, but I accept full responsibility for seven points,” continued Holgorsen. “I don’t care who we are playing, it’s embarrassing. I’ve got the utmost respect for Bob and Mike Stoops, but that being said, seven points is embarrassing, and we need to fix it.”

Part of that fix includes a new center as senior Pat Eger takes over the duties from freshman Tyler Orlosky.

“I’m happy with that. Ron (Crook) does a great job of rotating people in there. We can get (Nick) Kindler in there, and he helps Quinton Spain take a step back and catch a breath, and he does the same thing for (Curtis) Feigt on the other side.

“Eger can play in all three spots. Tyler (Orlosky) will be fine, he’s a redshirt freshman, he’s a little undersized. The guy he went against was a good player. He physically got outmanned a little bit. On one of those fumbles, he got lit up a bit. He’s not hurt, he’ll play. Pat Eger has no problem going from center to guard, and then we can put Tyler back in at center. I expect that to continue.”

He also expects Georgia State to take advantage of playing a less-than-100 percent WVU team.

“They’re a young program. They’ve been playing for seven years. Bill Curry started that program up. They’re transitioning into I-A. they have a great recruiting base. It’s Trent Miles’ first season there.

“He turned around Indiana State, while being there for four or five years, to the point that they were a pretty good FCS team. He takes the Georgia State job in its seventh year of football, and transitions them to the Sun Belt Conference.

“If Miles did it at Indiana State, I assume he can do it at Georgia State.”

Mountaineer fans will be hoping he doesn’t accomplish that feat on Saturday.

  • The game will be televised on Root Sports with Rob King providing the play-by-play, Rasheed Marshall the analysis and Amanda Mazey roaming the sidelines.
  • Big 12 teams have faced members of the Sun Belt Conference twice in 2013 with Oklahoma registering a 34-0 win over UL-Monroe and Kansas State beating UL-Lafayette by a 48-27 margin.
  • Six true freshmen have seen action this year including: Marvin Gross (LB), Carlton Nash (CB), Wendell Smallwood (RB), Daikiel Shorts (WR), Jeremy Tyler (S) and Daryl Worley (CB).
  • Seven redshirt freshmen have seen action in 2013 including: Jarrod Harper (S), Josh Lambert (K), Devonte Mathis (WR), Brandon Napoleon (CB), Noble Nwachukwu (DL), Tykler Orlosky (OL) and Sean Walters (LB).
  • After two games WVU’s defense ranks 59th nationally in total defense, 26th passing, 97th rushing and 31st scoring.
  • WVU uses three kickers, Josh Lambert (PATs, FG), Nick O’Toole (punting) and former-Parkersburg South standout Michael Molinari (kickoffs).
  • O’Toole ranks No. 5 nationally in punting and first in the Big 12 with a 47.5 yards per kick average.
  • Molinari is averaging 64.3 yards on seven kickoffs with three touchbacks. WVU ranks No. 5 in the Big 12 in kickoff coverage.