'I Love Being A Mountaineer'

West Virginia senior defensive tackle Julian Miller hobbled off Milan Puskar Stadium for the final time on a foot he injured on the last play of the game in the Mountaineers' Backyard Brawl win.

In his left hand he held a sign made by his mom that read "HAPPY BIRTHDAY JU. MILLER!" "I've never had a sign with my name on it before," he said, "so that was pretty cool."

It was Senior Night.

It was his birthday.

It was the Backyard Brawl.

And it was a memory Miller will never forget.

"I'd never imagined something like that," Miller said. "I love being a Mountaineer, and this just capped off my experience these past five years."

Miller had one of the most memorable Senior Night performances in recent WVU memory. He recorded a career-high four sacks in the 21-20 victory over Backyard Brawl rivals Pittsburgh.

It was just the third time in program history that a player had four or more sacks. It was the first time since James "Dirty" Davis had four sacks against East Carolina on Nov. 18, 2000. The record is five sacks in one game by Steve Hathaway on Oct. 15, 1983 vs. Virginia Tech.

His four-sack performance also tied the highest mark of any player this season. Six other players have recorded four sacks in one game this year.

"I got into the locker room and heard the stats and everything about my performance, and I was in disbelief not just of the performance but of the experience tonight," Miller said. "The atmosphere, the way our guys went out and played, the crowd, the fans. This was the greatest experience."

His 12 tackles were the most by a defensive lineman in defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel's tenure.

"That's above average," said head coach Dana Holgorsen after the game with a smirk. Following such a performance, he helped the Mountaineers' defense move from 87th in the country in sacks per game to 30th in one week. Miller and fellow senior defensive lineman are top 60 in sacks.

Miller is the nation's career leader in sacks with 27.5 in front of Marshall's Vinny Curry (26.5). He is ninth in the Big East in career sacks, as well.

The Columbus, Ohio native, has been able to consistently put up numbers and statistics despite unprecedented coaching chaos. He was recruited to play under former head coach Rich Rodriguez, excelled under former head coach Bill Stewart and finished off his career under Holgorsen.

He has recorded at least seven sacks since his sophomore season and played a good deal as a freshman, as well.

In addition, Miller came in at WVU as an undersized defensive lineman, particularly for the 3-3-5 defense. He entered as a freshman at 207 pounds, and continued to bulk up to the 270 pounds he played at this season.

"Hopefully I defined what being a West Virginia Mountaineer is all about for them. I hope I defined myself as a guy that would go out and work hard for the team and represent for the fans and this state and grind it out," Miller said. "To be able to grind it out and make it through and stay the course and be here on my fifth year as a senior, I think I showed that I was able to be a team player and was able to stick it out and was a true Mountaineer.

"That's what I want to be my true legacy."

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