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Thursday, October 23, 2008
Instant analysis: West Virginia 34, Auburn 17


Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Wait a minute here. This isn't supposed to happen.

West Virginia isn't supposed to score 34 points -- the most it has produced this season against an FBS opponent, by a longshot -- against an SEC defense. Not against Auburn, which hasn't allowed more than 26 points in a game all year and came in ranked ninth in scoring defense nationally. Not against an Auburn team that nearly beat LSU, and is supposed have all those fast, superior athletes on defense.

So why were the Mountaineers running past the Tigers all night? Isn't the Big East supposed to be so inferior to the SEC?

And yes, that is sarcasm.

Great performance tonight by West Virginia, which scored the game's final 31 points and thoroughly controlled the second half. The offensive line blocked as well as it has all season, and that helped spring Noel Devine toward a career-high 207 on just 17 carries, an average of 12.2 yards per rushing attempt. Pat White added three touchdown passes, two to Dorrell Jalloh, and West Virginia outgained Auburn, 445-260.

The Mountaineers' defense deserves special mention as well, allowing almost nothing after spotting the Tigers a 17-3 advantage.

This was the breakout game West Virginia fans had been waiting for all season. Now 5-2 and still undefeated in league play, the Mountaineers now must once again be considered a major threat to win the Big East for a third time in four years if they play like this.

You know, if Big East defenses are as malleable as those from the almighty SEC.