The Mountaineers (1-0) aren't expecting a breakout game for sacks against the FCS's fifth-ranked Dukes (2-0) and their doubly dangerous quarterback, Justin Thorpe. A fifth-year senior who has won his last 11 regular-season starts, Thorpe is 29-for-45 for 317 yards and three touchdowns this season. He's also run 20 times for 177 yards and three touchdowns.
The Dukes employ an offense that keeps Thorpe out of danger.
"They run a very quick game. The ball is going to come out quick," WVU co-defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said. "He's going to try to make plays with his feet, but we want to try to make this guy make plays with his arm if we can keep him in the pocket and contain him. When he does run, we need to come up and be physical with him."
WVU coaches thought something similar of Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato, who was sacked once, hurried twice and passed for 413 yards. Thorpe isn't as patient with the pass, though, Patterson said.
"Cato had a really good sense for pressure and could get out, but he'd look to make any play available, whether with his arm or his legs," Patterson said. "This guy is going to be a little different. If that first look isn't there, he's going to pull the ball down and go."
* * *
WVU CORNERBACKS coach Daron Roberts said last week "nobody, including myself, was pleased with the way we played" against Marshall. Holgorsen was more direct, especially with starting cornerbacks Brodrick Jenkins and Pat Miller.
"If Pat and Brodrick don't pick it up a little but, they may lose their spot to a freshman," Holgorsen said.
That freshman would be Nana Kyeremeh, who had more interceptions than anyone else in preseason practice. He played fewer than 20 snaps against Marshall, but made three tackles and impressed Roberts to the point that he said he could see Kyeremeh fulfilling Holgorsen's proposition.
"Absolutely," Roberts said. "Nana showed some great things on tape. When he played, whether it was special teams or cornerback, he kept showing flashes.
"I've had conversations with him and I've had conversations with the other guys who are going to figure into the mix. It's the older guys' responsibility to keep their job. It's Nana's responsibility to take somebody's job. That's what we want. We want to foster good competition. As long as you play well, we're going to reward you."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.