"The Lift"

There were plenty of big plays in the fourth quarter of West Virginia's 30-27 win over USF. However, none may have been bigger than the simple lift and carry executed by Shawne Alston on the game's penultimate play.

Shawne Alston had just five carries for seven yards in the game, averaging just 1.4 yards per carry. He didn't score a touchdown, or play a big part in West Virginia's offensive attack. He did, however, make the play that set up Tyler Bitancurt's game-winning field goal and sent the Mountaineers on to the Big East title.

Alston, in the game as West Virginia faced a fourth down and ten from the USF 42-yard line late in the game, saw Stedman Bailey make an acrobatic catch on the 16 for a first down. The clock stopped for the first down with six seconds to go, but Bailey was shaken up on the play, and fell back to the ground after attempting to get up. With WVU out of timeouts, the Mountaineers might have been subject to a clock run-off, although the specifics of the NCAA rulebook aren't entirely clear on this issue. In any event, Alston knew he had to get Bailey up and ready for a snap and spike of the ball to kill the clock, so he alertly grabbed him under the arms and helped him get back and line up for the snap, which came as soon as the referee restarted the game clock. Thus properly set up, WVU was able to spike the ball, kill the clock and get Bitancurt on for the winning field goal.

In this interview, Alston discusses the coaching he received from running backs coach Robert Gillespie and what he was thinking as he saw Bailey struggle to get up after his huge catch.

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