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Mountaineers set to host Colonials today in opener

MORGANTOWN (AP) – West Virginia coach Neal Brown has a soft spot for teams from his native Kentucky, keeping his comments positive for an upcoming opponent that did little right in its opening game.

Besides, Eastern Kentucky is his mother’s alma mater.

The Mountaineers start the coronavirus-delayed season today in its only nonconference game against the Colonels, who managed just 166 total yards in a 59-0 loss at Marshall last week.

Brown attended high school in Danville, Kentucky, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) from the Eastern Kentucky campus in Richmond, where he attended several games growing up. He knows several members of first-year coach Walt Wells’ staff.

Wells was an assistant under Roy Kidd, who won two Division I-AA national championships and was runner-up twice.

“A lot of respect for them,” Brown said. “They had a tough game last week. I expect them to bounce back like most teams do between week one and week two. They’ll make adjustments and they’ll be much improved this week.”

Eastern Kentucky of the Championship Subdivision will get national television exposure for the second straight game. While thousands of fans were allowed into the stadium on a limited basis last week at Marshall, West Virginia is keeping its gates closed due to the virus.

Morgantown is one of the state’s coronavirus hotspots. The university this week brought an abrupt halt to in-person classes, moving nearly all undergraduate courses online temporarily after a recent uptick in virus cases, due in part to large student gatherings.

“I want our fans to understand that we’re going to miss them on Saturday,” Brown said. “It will not be the same. In a season of a lot of different things and things that are abnormal, that is going to be the most difficult challenge for our players.”

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