MORGANTOWN - West Virginia University football notebook:
Nate Sowers thinks there's still room for the West Virginia defensive secondary to improve on as the Mountaineers (2-2) oppose visiting Rutgers (1-3) on Saturday at Mountaineer Field/Milan Puskar Stadium.
"I thought that was the best we played so far in the win over Marshall (27-3) last week," the junior strong safety from Martinsburg said. "We definitely were making some plays. But there are still some mental mistakes that we are making, mostly in communications."
Those popped out during last Sunday's viewing of game tapes.
The converted quarterback thinks the Scarlet Knights will be a good challenge for WVU.
"They're a power team from what I've seen on tape," Sowers said.
"Mike Teel is a third-year starter at quarterback, and they're pretty well balanced on offense.
"Greg Schiano is a good coach, and he will have those guys fired up for us. You know we'll have to take their best shot."
A sellout crowd of about 60,000 is assured for the noon kickoff. The weather forecast calls for partly sunny, with the temperature reaching a high of 64 degrees.
The action will be televised by the Big East Network as its game of the week. Mike Gleason will handle the play-by-play, with John Congemi serving as analyst.
Seven different TV channels will carry the game, reaching every section of West Virginia and also New Jersey and other states that have football schools in the Big East Conference.
Senior center Mike Dent thinks the WVU offensive line finally came together well in the victory over Marshall.
"We executed our blocks a lot better, I thought," he said. "Everybody did a really good job. I think the whole offensive line deserved recognition, not just me (a weekly award recipient).
"When we substituted, the younger guys that came in did a nice job, too. Yes, I do think that gives us more confidence as we head into the Big East portion of our season.
"We should have opportunities to get some yardage on the ground."
Dent believes they are doing a much better job of communicating and executing the blocks.
Scooter Berry, second-year starting defensive end as a sophomore, thinks the defensive line has performed very well, despite the losses of Keilen Dykes and Johnny Dingle, who wrapped up their WVU careers.
"Those two were great guys and great players," he said.. "But Pat Liebig came back (from 2006) and other guys have stepped up," he said.
"So I think our defensive line has done a great job this year.
"We had some big shoes to fill when Dykes and Dingle left. But I think everybody realized that and when they got into a game, they feel they have a lot to prove."
This will be the 36th meeting in between WVU and Rutgers, with the Mountaineers leading the longtime series by a 29-4-2 margin.
The Scarlet Knights will be trying to snap a 13-game losing streak in the rivalry, dating back to the 1994 season.
The closest Rutgers has come to ending that dry spell was two years ago. West Virginia required three overtime periods to eke out a 31-29 victory in Morgantown.