West Virginia earned their second win of the season on Saturday over the NC State Wolfpack in a non-conference game in Morgantown.
The Mountaineers showed off a new and improved offense right off the bat, moving the ball both in the air and on the ground to get their first score. Their ground game, however, was the most striking improvement — in just one half of play, WVU eclipsed their rushing total from the first two games.
Sam James scored first for West Virginia off a pass from Austin Kendall. The freshman wideout had a breakout game against NC State — surpassing 100 receiving yards in just the first half. He finished with 155 yards and a touchdown, and was Kendall’s favorite target on the day.
On top of his receiving contributions, James would add an additional 62 yards on the ground and on special teams, notching his all-purpose tally at 212 yards.
“The guys who we needed to be big time players,” said head coach Neal Brown, “were big time players today.”
West Virginia’s rushing attack was integral to the Mountaineer win. There were six different Mountaineers who had a carry in the game, led by Kennedy McKoy’s 63 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Leddie Brown made his season debut, contributing a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The Wolfpack’s passing offense was effective throughout the game, but West Virginia’s defense proved to be stout enough to slow them down late. The defensive line earned a trio of sacks on quarterback Matthew McKay, who himself contributed 190 yards and a touchdown for NC State.