Safety Darwin Cook and Doug Rigg combined to make a tackle on the goal line on first down, cornerback Travis Bell was trusted to bat down a pass on a fade route on second down and defensive end Dontrill Hyman made a tackle for a five-yard loss on third down before the Cowboys missed a field goal.
"That's just my nature," Patterson said. "I like to be aggressive with corners, and not necessarily always in man coverage. We play a lot of man, but we also play a lot of zone, but even in zone concepts, I like to be aggressive with how we hug up on them. I'm not big on covering grass. I like to hug up on those receivers and make that quarterback execute."
While Patterson likes to pressure the quarterback, he really likes to vary the attack. Outside linebacker Brandon Golson and defensive end Will Clarke both have three sacks and Clarke has played all over the defensive line. Kyle Rose, a defensive end who played some nose guard against the Cowboys, and middle linebackers Doug Rigg and Nick Kwiatkoski all have one sack.
WVU has also blitzed safeties, cornerbacks and the extra defensive backs in nickel and dime packages.
It produces sacks or hasty quarterback decisions, but also negative yardage rushing plays. By already eclipsing last season's total tackles for a loss, the Mountaineers have produced 166 lost yards rushing, just about half of the 2012 total.
"He's pretty aggressive," Clarke said. "There are certain times in the game he just lets it go, but that's a good thing for the guys up front, especially myself. I like that. I like to play in the backfield."
Those players have pressure on themselves, too. Blitzers know they have a brief amount of time to make a play as the defensive backs play aggressive on their own and try to cover the receivers without much help.
"In my mind, I'm thinking, 'Get there,'" Clarke said. "The average offensive play is over in 2.5 to 3 seconds. It's very hard for a person to run somewhere very fast in 2.5 to 3 seconds. So I'm thinking, 'Get there.' I know myself and the other defensive linemen, we strain hard to try to get there and try to buy some time for the guys in the back end."
* * *
WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen said junior Paul Millard was the only healthy quarterback at Sunday's practice. Redshirt freshman Ford Childress has a torn pectoral muscle and junior Clint Trickett, who won in his first WVU start Saturday, injured his right shoulder late in the game.
Holgorsen said before he decided on a starter that he needed to see how the quarterbacks reacted when the Mountaineers return to practice today.
"Fortunately, we've played all three of them," he said. "I will evaluate how they do (today), Wednesday and Thursday and make a decision on who it's going to be."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.