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WEDNESDAY MORNING QB: Winning feels good for WVU

The West Virginia defense made a gallant goal line stand in the final seconds of the game Saturday to preserve a hard fought 27-21 win over Virginia Tech in front of a sellout crowd.

It would be hard to overstate how important the outcome was. After a poor performance against Maryland two weeks earlier and with a road trip to the nation’s 3rd ranked team looming, losing after having a 20 point lead would have been devastating. Gone would have been any reasonable hopes for a successful season. Fans would have been discouraged. Trusting the climb would have been disparaged.

For now those negatives were swatted away on the last 4th down attempt by the Hokies with 45 seconds remaining. The Mountaineer defense was up to the task when it mattered most, preventing Virginia Tech from scoring on three separate possessions inside the WVU 10 yard line. Late in the first half the Hokies were first and goal at the West Virginia 7, but ultimately missed a field goal. The defense later previewed their last minute heroics by stopping Tech on downs at the Mountaineer 6 with 5:54 remaining.

Offensively WVU opened with an 80 yard touchdown run by Leddie Brown on its second offensive play, and scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions. But in what has often been the case, the offense began to sputter as the game wore on. After another good drive and several effective running plays brought the Mountaineers to a first and goal at the 2 late in the second quarter, quarterback Jarret Doege curiously appeared to audible to a difficult fade pass which went awry, and after another botched play WVU ended up settling for a field goal.

The offense did have a solid drive of nearly seven minutes leading to another field goal to begin the second half, but upon its next four possessions West Virginia gained just 33 yards on 17 plays, with as many turnovers(2) as first downs. Things began to unravel with a fumble at the WVU 48 yard line with 11:12 remaining in the game and the Mountaineers leading 27-14.

Following was a statistical anomaly one would seldom see in a football game. From that point on every one of the last 32 plays were run in West Virginia territory.

The Hokies scored with 3:10 remaining to pull within six points, and when Doege threw an interception giving Virginia Tech the ball back at the WVU 17 with 2:06 remaining Mountaineer fans feared the worst. But the defense saved the day to the relief of exhausted WVU faithful.

It wasn’t always pretty, but winning against good teams is hard. Enjoy the win.

THIS SATURDAY: The Mountaineers travel to play Oklahoma in a 7:30 evening game. Since joining the Big 12 the Sooners have not only won every matchup between the two schools but have averaged a ridiculous 48 points per game in doing so. In that stretch WVU has faced two Heisman Trophy winners, another finalist, and now a 2021 candidate in quarterback Spencer Rattler. The Sooners struggled in a 23-16 win over former rival Nebraska last Saturday, but they always seem to light things up when they see gold and blue.

OKLAHOMA 38 WEST VIRGINIA 17.

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