West Virginia dominated Georgia Southern 44-0 at Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday.
Here's what happened:
How the game was won: Defense. The Mountaineers' defense could be the Big 12's top unit and showed it in the shutout win. It has experience, speed, depth and aggression, which could make it a tough group to get the best of this fall. Seniors Karl Joseph and K.J. Dillon set the tone with their physical play against Georgia Southern and could be the foundation of the defense moving forward. Georgia Southern had 57 plays, 189 yards, 3.3 yards per play and five turnovers when the Mountaineers defense began inserting its backups early in the fourth quarter.
Player of the game: Joseph. The senior, who has started every game he has played in a Mountaineers uniform, had a pair of interceptions to open the second half. One of the Big 12's hardest hitters, Joseph showed how much he's improved as a pass defender on his interceptions including a terrific adjustment to the ball on the second one. He finished with eight tackles (seven solo) along with the three third-quarter interceptions.
What the win means for West Virginia: A season-opening win is always good but the Mountaineers also may have found some answers at receiver with strong showings from true freshman Jovon Durante (3 catches, 121 yards, TD) and sophomore Shelton Gibson (3 catches, 130 yards, TD). If they continue to be deep threats, that opens up the Mountaineers offense significantly.
What the loss means for Georgia Southern: A disheartening loss, mainly because of the lack of rhythm and success for Georgia Southern's run-heavy offense. Confidence-wise, Georgia Southern won't head home with much to build upon. They'll look to get back on track against Western Michigan on Sept. 12.