Front line keys WVU defense
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - WVU defensive coordinator Keith Patterson tried to remain calm and professional after his team's 30-21 victory over No. 11 Oklahoma State.
The emotion, though, came through.
"It just shows the character of our players," Patterson said. "I couldn't be more proud to be their coach."
Most notable was WVU's front, which helped to hold the Cowboys to 111 rushing yards on 40 carries. There were quarterback hurries (three), tackles for loss (nine) and a sack. It led to 10 breakups of OSU quarterback J.W. Walsh's passes.
"Getting pressure was the whole game plan," said Patterson, "to impact the quarterback and put doubt in his mind. He's tough. We bounced off him several times with a chance to sack him - I don't know how many times we missed him - but I was pleased with the pressure we got on him."
The front, especially, seems to be getting better.
"It's a tribute to our kids and the effort," said WVU defensive line coach Erik Slaughter. "We wanted it more than they did. That was the bottom line. We played hard."
"I'm proud of Coach Patterson and the defensive staff," said Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen.
Along the front, Slaughter rotated linemen Will Clarke, Noble Nwachukwu, Shaq Rowell, Kyle Rose, Dontrill Hyman and Eric Kinsey. At Buck, Brandon Golson and Marvin Gross played well.
"We played three down - a total of six - and the two Bucks," Slaughter said. "You have to rotate the way [Oklahoma State plays].
"Noble was banged up early in the year, but he's back and good now. He's a good player. He has a chance to be a really, really good player.
"I think they're all getting better. I think Will Clarke in the last three weeks is really turning it on. He's turned a corner. I think Dontrill Hyman today - the play on the goal line was unbelievable."
Patterson seemed more impressed, though, with the attitude.
"We're just getting better," he said. "We didn't hang our heads. We just went back to work. We believed we can still be a great football team. Just like last week, we're not going to get overly excited. It's one win. We need more."
"We're improving as a whole team," said Rowell. "Just working every day. It's winning as a team."
"Coach asked us at the beginning of the week to identify one thing we could get better as a unit," Patterson said. "Setting up scores on that end of the field was definitely of emphasis."
"It's what is expected of us," Rowell said. "We expect to be good. Simple as that."
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.