MORGANTOWN - Well, if nothing else, the new kickoff rules got quite a workout during West Virginia's 69-34 rout of Marshall Saturday at Mountaineer Field.
There were 14 touchdowns and two field goals, so added to the kicks to start each half there were 18 kickoffs. And they were certainly a mixed bag.
WVU's first two kickoffs from the 35-yard line (5 yards closer than in the past) went deep into the end zone and weren't returned, giving Marshall the ball at the 25 (a bump of 5 yards from the past). After that, there was a mix from both teams that more often than not involved trying to get high kicks that didn't reach the end zone.
No one had any breakaway kickoff returns, despite the fact that both sides have dangerous returners - WVU's Tavon Austin and MU's Andre Snipes-Booker. Booker returned six, but the longest was for 25 yards. Austin ran back just three, the longest 19 yards.
But at least Austin wasn't given many chances, with balls being kicked either away from him or well short of him.
"I don't mind. I kind of liked that, really,'' Austin said. "I think it shows that I've done some things in the past and they don't want me to do it again.''
Indeed, last season Austin's 100-yard kick return against Marshall was the game-breaker.
Dana Holgorsen certainly wasn't kicking himself for not scoring enough points, but he was angry at himself for costing the Mountaineers three.
West Virginia's No. 1 offense failed to score only twice in 10 possessions. It would have scored on seven in a row to start the game had Holgorsen not insisted on going for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal at the MU 3-yard line late in the first quarter.
"That was me being stupid and stubborn,'' Holgorsen admitted later. "We should have kicked a field goal. I cost us three points.''
That series also resulted in a rare scene - Geno Smith lining up under center instead of in the shotgun. He audibled at the line and took the snap and tried to squeeze through a momentary hole in the line, but was tackled short.