Meanwhile, West Virginia ran the ball 44 times, 23 of them by Houston transfer Charles Sims, who gained 120 yards. There were precious few big plays, save the long pass to Carswell. No other play the Mountaineers ran gained 20 yards. Only two others gained more than 15.
To put that in perspective, last season the Mountaineers had 70 offensive plays of 20 yards or more. Including defense and special teams they had nearly 100. Saturday they had one.
Two things, of course, could change that in the future. First, Holgorsen could - and no doubt will - open up the offense. Right now he just wants Millard to get comfortable. Ditto Trickett, who is certain to get another chance the first time Millard puts together a few rough series in a row. That seems almost certain to happen Saturday night when WVU plays at Oklahoma. And taking more chances means making more big plays.
"They were playing off most of the game,'' Millard said of William & Mary's defense Saturday. "They wanted us to run the ball.''
Of course, when the Tribe realized West Virginia was actually going to run it, those safeties starting inching closer to the line of scrimmage and the result was Carswell's 69-yard TD catch against single coverage with no safety help.
Then again, there is always the second possibility for creating big plays, which is to keep running the ball like the Mountaineers did Saturday. WVU has run the ball more than 44 times only two other times in Holgorsen's tenure, but only once was the run-pass ratio more skewed toward the run. And again, that was the rout of Kansas when everything worked.
One of the reasons Holgorsen did it so much against William & Mary was because he was convinced that eventually Sims or someone else would get loose. No one really ever did, but it does seem the possibility exists.
"I'm disappointed we didn't get loose,'' Holgorsen said. "We ran the ball probably more than any time in my coaching history. But they were dropping a lot of people and I thought that was the thing to do.''
It might remain the thing to do. West Virginia's offense will no doubt evolve in the coming weeks, but it's hard to tell in what direction it will go.
All that's certain is that is has to evolve pretty quickly.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1