In fact, the downright efficiency with which West Virginia dispensed of Bowling Green after falling behind 10-3 was something to behold. The offense ripped off six straight touchdown drives of between 49 and 90 yards, added a 45-yard Tyler Bitancurt field goal on the next possession and by the middle of the third quarter it was 48-10.
Even after that, when Smith gave way to Paul Millard at quarterback, it didn't stop. Millard immediately led a six-play, 84-yard drive capped by Shawne Alston's second touchdown of the day to make it 55-10.
In the end, West Virginia had 643 yards of total offense, just 31 yards shy of the school record of 673 set in 1923 against Washington & Lee.
West Virginia's defense wasn't too shabby, either. Bowling Green (3-2) gained just 217 yards of offense and had more yards in 10 kickoff returns (258). The Mountaineers also forced five turnovers after having none in three of the first four games. Keith Tandy had two interceptions, Terence Garvin another and the Mountaineers recovered two fumbles and forced three more.
The first of those turnovers came on the opening kickoff.
"That was fun to see on the opening play after we'd been talking all week about not being able to get turnovers,'' Holgorsen said. "Turnovers are a stat that matters. Everyone is aware of that.''
West Virginia's offensive explosion followed a rather precarious start. For the first half of the first quarter, Bowling Green appeared more than ready to make this a forgettable afternoon for the Mountaineers, taking a 10-3 lead.
The Falcons even managed to dominate the opening minutes despite fumbling away the opening kickoff. West Virginia got a field goal out of that for a 3-0 lead, but Bowling Green's Boo Boo Gates returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards to set up Matt Schilz's 18-yard touchdown pass to Ray Hutson. A long field goal drive then made the score 10-3.
When Smith failed to connect on a third-and-10 play a short time later, it looked like WVU's second straight three-and-out and the beginning of a long day. But Bowling Green was flagged for both pass interference and a personal foul on the play.
Three plays later, Smith hit Ivan McCartney with a 33-yard touchdown and the Mountaineers were off to the races. Smith would later connect with Ryan Nehlen and Brad Starks for scores, and both Garrison and Alston had two rushing touchdowns.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.