Finally On The Field

It isn't Brantwon Bowser's fault that few Mountaineer fans know much about him. After coming to West Virginia as a sophomore, Bowser was plagued with a series of injuries that held him out of getting any game experience until this season.

During his first season at West Virginia, Bowser sustained an injury to the ACL in his right knee during spring practice that kept him out for his entire first season. Following surgery and rehabilitation, he then sustained a shoulder injury that yet again kept him off of the field for the entire year. In between thosee two major injuries, Bowser had to go under the knife to get his appendix taken out.

It's all added up to a career of frustration from Bowser, but he's taken a determined approach to his many setbacks and recoveries. And now, in his senior season, he's finally making the contribution that he knew he could.

"With any injury, it goes out of my head once it's done," said Bowser. "Unless it's brought up to me, I don't even think about it. It's just about going out and playing football for me now. I kind of feel like [the injuries] have gotten me a lot stronger and made me work on things that I wouldn't have worked on. It was a bad thing but it's helped me a lot too."

Bowser's patience has paid off. He is finally becoming a regular on the playing field for the Mountaineer defense, and has racked up tackles against opponents like UNLV, LSU, Marshall, and Coastal Carolina. As part of West Virginia's third down defensive packages, Browser plays as an extra defensive back.

"I've worked hard and the corners really helped me this summer," said Bowser. "When you come in and work hard, everything plays off of that."

Bowser's work paid off when he made the play that every defensive player dreams of late in the fourth quarter in the team's Big East opener against South Florida. Bowser intercepted a pass thrown by USF quarterback B.J. Daniels and returned it to South Florida's 49-yard line.

"It was wild," said Bowser. "I couldn't believe it. My eyes lit up and it was like he probably thought I was one of his receivers out there because the ball came right to me. It was a great feeling. I was kind of upset because it was getting really late in the fourth quarter and I was just thinking that I needed an interception. It happened for me."

The senior has been one of the team's solid contributors on third down, and one of the reasons for West Virginia's improvement there. Last year, getting stops and getting off the field was sometimes an issue, but this year it has been nothing short of spectacular. While Bowser and the rest of the defense have changing roles when the team switches into their third down packages, he doesn't believe it affects the team's chemistry on the field.

"Last year, it was one of the main focuses for us," said Bowser. "My coaches and everyone else on the defense have been doing a great job of working on that. In practice, everyone works on certain situations and where they need to be [on third down] so I think everyone feels comfortable in what position that they need to do. Everyone is out there doing what they have to."

The Mountaineer defense is playing with undeniable chemistry, and Bowser's contribution on third down has been an important part of that. While he still isn't a household name on a defense that features a host of more familiar faces, he is happy to finally be a part of the team, and one that is doing his own part in making that unit one of the nation's best.

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