"It's a different game when you're starting or playing down in and down out than when you're just coming in some situations," Patterson said. "It kind of caught me off guard a little bit because I didn't expect to see some nerves out there, but it's typical when you're talking about young men."
The defense shut out the Tribe offense in the second half. It allowed only 108 yards and 22 snaps. William & Mary was 0-for-4 on third down and only had five first downs and 13:09 of possession.
While Patterson's players did themselves some favors, they also had help. One of kicker Michael Molinari's two touchbacks came in the second half and punter Nick O'Toole pushed the Tribe offense deep twice with punts of 56 and 60 yards in the fourth quarter.
Holgorsen also called plays in a way to help the defense. WVU ran the ball 24 times, and though that only worked for 106 yards, it kept the offense on the field - and the defense off the field - for 16:51 in the second half.
"That's what was beautiful about the game," Patterson said. "We worked together in all three phases."
The defense turned the Tribe over just once, but safety Darwin Cook's interception in the fourth quarter came after the offense scored the winning touchdown on freshman Wendell Smallwood's 2-yard touchdown run. Cook gave the offense the ball one last time to run out the final 3:09.
WVU managed just three tackles for a loss and one sack, but made very little use of their plans for blitzing and pressuring. The Tribe started freshmen tackles and a new center on the offensive line and frequently sought to protect their quarterback by using formations that brought in two additional blockers.
"It feels good," Patterson said. "I'm glad it was that type of game. It showed the kids to trust each other and trust the system and when you do things well, it will work.
"We talk to the team constantly about not playing outside the framework of the defense. Some kids have the right intentions and want to make plays outside the framework, and we had some guys do that in the first half and make plays, but who weren't taking care of their responsibilities. We got them to fix that."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.