Tony's Take


TONY'S TAKE
By for WVUsports.com
October 27, 2009 07:15 AM

Posted by Tony Caridi on Tuesday, October 27, 2009
(7:30 am)

 
  Noel Devine

Have you stopped to think how special Noel Devine’s 56-yard touchdown run to beat Connecticut really was?

The Huskies, playing with incredible emotion, scored on the second longest pass completion against a West Virginia football team ever with less than four minutes remaining in the game. The Mountaineers don’t blink and come right back to score the game winning touchdown. It’s quite a testament to the resiliency of this year’s team — a resiliency they’ll need over the next five games.

***

South Florida coach Jim Leavitt is thinking about personnel changes after his team got rolled 41-14 at Pitt last Saturday. Bulls radio announcer Jim Louk tells me that USF’s two-game skid can be traced back to the loss of quarterback Matt Grothe. Replacement B.J. Daniels has become less effective after teams were able to study him on tape. Daniels was relieved in the second half against Pitt, but is expected to start Friday night against the Mountaineers.

***

Last Saturday’s game was officially homecoming for the Mountaineers. However, this week’s game in Tampa will be a homecoming for several WVU players from Florida. Four of West Virginia’s key offensive players (Noel Devine, Jarrett Brown, Jock Sanders, and Alric Arnett) are all Florida natives. All totaled, there are 24 Florida natives on this year's WVU roster.

***

If you’re going to the game on Friday dress cool. Daytime temperature is predicted to hit 89 degrees with a nighttime low of 70. Fortunately, the Mountaineers are expected to practice in warm weather all week here in Morgantown.

***

If you’re someone that likes to foreshadow the future, keep these numbers and trends in mind during Friday’s game.

  • South Florida is 75-5 all-time when they lead after the second quarter.

  • The Bulls are just 16-45 when trailing at the half.

  • When leading after three quarters the Bulls are 79-5 - that’s a 94 percent winning percentage.

  • When the opposing team commits more turnovers, South Florida is 52-7.

    In short, to beat the Bulls it would be wise for the Mountaineers to score early, hold on to the football, and try not to go into overtime. USF is 7-0 all-time in overtime games.

    ***

     
      Deniz Kilicli

    I spoke with Bob Huggins on Monday and received an update on the progress of the four newcomers to this year’s team. The coach gives a thumbs up on all four: Dalton Pepper, Casey Mitchell, Danny Jennings, and Deniz Kilicli. Huggins said Kilicli is the team's best inside scorer. By the way, we’re now told Kilicli is pronounced Ka-LICK-e. At 6-9, 265 pounds, I’m leaning toward calling him the Istan-Bull.

    ***

    The Associated Press preseason basketball poll comes out later this week. I asked Huggs where he would rank his team. According to the coach, if the Mountaineers are No. 2 in the Big East coaches' poll, they should probably be ranked in the Top 10 of the AP poll.

    ***

    Just to let you know how quickly hoop season will arrive, Syracuse played its first exhibition game on Sunday. The Mountaineers play their first exhibition game in less than two weeks. Mountain State University will visit the Coliseum on Sunday, Nov. 8. Coach Bob Bolen’s Mountain State squad is again predicted to contend for the NAIA national title. Mountain State also boasts the tallest player in college basketball in junior center Paul Sturgess, who is 7-feet-8 inches tall. That’s not a typo - 7-feet-8-inches tall. Here’s looking at you kid.

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