MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - After West Virginia defeated overmatched Georgia State by 41-7 on Saturday, Mountaineer receiver Ivan McCartney was asked if he was satisfied with the 34-point victory.
He looked up and slowly shook his head.
"No," McCartney said softly. "We're better than that."
He repeated himself.
"We're better than that."
New WVU starting center Pat Eger was asked the same question.
"A win's a win," Eger said. "But when we get in [today] and see the film, we'll see areas we need to improve on. We're nowhere near where we want to be. We still have strides to make."
Agreed. To the casual fan glancing at the score, WVU convincingly defeated a team it should have convincingly defeated. Even the final stats look good. The Mountaineers had 604 total yards and the Panthers had 220.
But to those in the know, a 41-7 WVU victory earned late over that team is not a reason to boast. The Mountaineers were 40-point favorites. The reasons: Georgia State is in but its fourth season of football and first as an FBS school. When the Panthers lost to Chattanooga last week, it was the Mocs' first over an FBS school since 1984.
Quite simply, Georgia State is one of the worst teams to ever visit Mountaineer Field. And yet WVU held but a 20-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
If you want to compare, Chattanooga won 42-14 at Georgia State's Atlanta home last week. WVU won 41-7 in Morgantown on Saturday. The Panthers allowed 417 rushing yards - 6.7 yards per carry - to Chattanooga. They allowed 245 - an average of 5.8 - to WVU.
"Obviously we're very disappointed with the results," said first-year GSU coach Trent Miles.
Later, he explained the three fourth-quarter WVU touchdowns.
"You saw how we looked compared to how they looked," Miles said. "They're bigger than us."
Yet on a chilly mid-September day, before a terrific crowd of 57,440, WVU sputtered many times. There were dropped passes. There were overthrows and underthrows by first-time starting QB Ford Childress. There were missed blocks by linemen, backs and wideouts. The defense allowed Georgia State to score on a 65-yard run - the longest scoring run in school history.
Mountaineer offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson certainly wasn't thrilled.
"We've done nothing in the last three games that we haven't done for the last 15 years," he said of his schemes and time with head coach Dana Holgorsen. "We have to have people step up."
He knows. Dawson spoke of drops of routine passes. He spoke of vertical passing misconnections.
"It was frustrating," Dawson said of the halftime 17-0 lead. "We have a way about us that kills drives. I told them [at halftime], 'We're not asking you to be superhuman. Just do your job.'"