WVU football: Mountaineers nursing injuries after Oklahoma trip
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Despite a physical Saturday night and a game that sent no fewer than five defenders to the sideline with injuries, West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen didn't rule anyone out of Saturday's noon home game against Georgia State.
The game at Mountaineer Field will be televised on ROOT Sports.
"It was physical and I told them all week it was going to be physical," Holgorsen said at his weekly press conference Tuesday. "The injury report is big, but it's going to be that way every game you play more than likely. We knew it was going to be a physical game because we knew both teams were going to run the ball a good bit, so it's no surprise we got beat up a little bit."
Safety K.J. Dillon has a "little bit of a knee," according to Holgorsen, and linebacker Isaiah Bruce got "nicked up." Both are day-to-day. Linebacker Doug Rigg, who has a concussion, is questionable.
Dillon was hurt beneath a blocker on a run play and tried to stay in the game, but fell to the ground on the subsequent snap. Bruce and Rigg both left the game after collisions with safety Karl Joseph.
Nose guard Shaq Rowell and defensive end Eric Kinsey, who is now a linebacker, left the game but returned.
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Georgia State (0-2) is in its first year in the Football Bowl Subdivision and in its first season with Coach Trent Miles, formerly of Football Championship Subdivision Indiana State. Miles replaced former Georgia Tech, Alabama and Kentucky Coach Bill Curry.
The Panthers are ranked No. 208 in the Sagarin computer rankings out of 250 Division I teams (FBS and FCS). They are the lowest-ranked FBS team and one spot above the Gardner-Webb team Marshall shut out last week.
Georgia State was in the Colonial Athletic Association last season and was pummeled by William & Mary, which finished 2-9 in 2012 and is 1-1 this season, including the season-opening loss at WVU (1-1).
"I don't know anything about their facilities or any of that stuff, but Coach Miles is in his first year there and he turned around Indiana State," Holgorsen said. "He turned them around to where they were a pretty good FCS team. He takes the Georgia State job, and that's a young program. They're in their seventh year of football."
Actually, a feasibility study wrapped up in November 2006 and the program officially launched in April 2008. The first game was in 2010.
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The Panthers, who will receive a $550,000 payment from WVU for the game, are in an unexpected transitional stage early in the season. Starting center Michael Davis and starting right guard Harrison Clottey, both fifth-year seniors, quit the team following Saturday's 42-14 loss to FCS Chattanooga.
That won't help a running game that's been historically bad. The Panthers have 102 yards rushing, including a program-worst total of 30 yards last Saturday, and average only 2.4 yards per carry.
Miles reassigned running backs coach Tony Tiller to another job within the athletic department Monday and promoted graduate assistant Brock Lough to take over the position.
"We are still trying to get the right guys on the field who give great effort and play hard at all times," Miles said Monday on the Sun Belt teleconference. "To play for us, you have to put it on the line every play, every down."
Miles believes his team lost its spirit early in the loss to the Mocs, who were up 14-0 after 10 minutes of the game and ran for 401 yards on the way to a 42-0 lead.
"We had some young guys in their second college football game and they were learning how to handle it, and then some guys that have been around and haven't had success who are probably more fragile than the young guys," said Miles, who is using eight true freshmen and has 15 true or redshirt freshmen in the two-deep on offense and defense.
The Panthers played two quarterbacks. Ben McClane came in during the fourth quarter and completed 7 of 12 passes for 164 yards in leading two touchdown drives. He relieved Ronnie Bell, who was 9-for-22 and played under constant pressure.
"Ronnie got beat up," Miles said. "He was running for his life. They manhandled us up front. They got pressure on our quarterback and we weren't able to run the football."
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Senior Pat Eger, who played both guard positions and center against Oklahoma, will make his first career start at center against Georgia State. Holgorsen said redshirt freshman Tyler Orlosky will play and that Eger will continue to backup the guards.
"Tyler will be fine," Holgorsen said. "He's a redshirt freshman, he's a little undersized and the guy he went against - that nose guard - that dude was a good player. He physically got outmanned a little bit. On one of those fumbles, he got lit up a bit. But he's not hurt. He'll play. Pat has no problem going from center to guard, and then we can put Tyler back in at center. I expect that to continue."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.