Observations from a beautiful weekend in Morgantown, despite the cold weather and sprinkles of rain, where the Mountaineers broke it off on the Pitt Panthers and the Mountaineer Women's Soccer team bludgeoned Ohio State 3-0 to move to the NCAA Sweet 16.
I will be searching the papers this week for the stories of the Mountaineer fans that not only stayed in the stands after the complete annihilation of their rival Pitt Panthers, but then stood and sung a loud rendition of "Country Roads" to the delight of the thousands in attendance, and the entire football team still on the field.
Lance Frazier sure picked a nice evening to have the best game of his career. Despite getting torched by Larry Fitzgerald in the first quarter, Frazier stepped up to the task and took over the ball game almost single-handedly. Punt returns, pass deflections, an interception and a beautiful return with said interception. Fitzgerald may win the Heisman, but it is because of Frazier's defense and special teams that the Mountaineers slapped the Panthers and sit in a tie atop the Big East standings
To the astonishment of nearly everyone in attendance at Mountaineer Field on Saturday night, West Virginia came out chucking the rock all over the yard. With WVU previously averaging around 16 pass attempts per game, Marshall's 20 first half passes were as jaw dropping as the 300+ yards of total first half offense and 24 points.
Raise your glass to John Pennington. One can only imagine what it must be like for the homeboy from Charleston's George Washington High to walk on the field in front of the 5th largest crowd in WVU history knowing you are going to be getting the bomb thrown to you on 4th and 4 with the Mountaineers trailing by seven points with 31 seconds left in the first half. It makes my hair stand up just to write it.
Quincy Wilson continues to outdo himself each and every week. While everyone in the country was impressed by his 208 yard, four touchdown, showing on Saturday night, I think the most impressive part of his game was overlooked. Not only did Quincy catch both balls thrown to him on Saturday, each for 11 yards and a Mountaineer first down, he ripped off a drive that again cemented his place in all-time Mountaineer lore.
With WVU on the verge of blowing Pitt clean out of town early in the fourth quarter, Quincy carried the ball on eight straight plays. These were not penny ante run out of bounds plays we are talking about here. These were bruising, smash mouth, in-your-face runs, as he personally marched the Mountaineers from deep in their own territory to deep into Pitt's. He fumbled on third down from the Pitt 20 after getting a two play breather, or this drive would have made history. As it was, Quincy had to settle for ripping off a 36-yard touchdown on his next carry that sent Mountaineer Field into pandemonium, and the Pitt fans for the exits.
Memo to Pitt fans. In fact, memo to all fans traveling to not only Mountaineer Field, but any rabid college football game and sitting deep in the heart of season ticket country: Cheer for your team, don't talk trash. I assume the people from Evil Empire up north can read. At least they can watch the news and listen to what all the talking heads have to say about the out of control environment at Mountaineer Field.
If that is the case, it makes you wonder why a group of Pitt fans would not only bring their young children with them, but then proceed to run their mouths relentlessly to aggravate even the most mild mannered fan of the home team. I won't even bother to apologize for the verbal treatment you received in the second half from the people in our section. You got what you deserved. And you are lucky that it was our section you showed your classless diatribe in, and not one filled with younger, more soused individuals.
Another note, don't sit in someone else's seats, and then cop attitude when you are asked to move. All that will do is get you is trouble.
Once again Grant Wiley plays a tremendous game, and people don't even see him on the field. In my opinion, there isn't a better linebacker in college football. When he gets to the combine, he won't have the fastest 40, or the highest high jump, or the best time in the shuttle. And his draft status may even slip. But put a football across from him, and he will mercilessly rip your head off and stomp on your writhing carcass.
Nobody else seemed to notice, but Pac Man didn't receive on single personal foul penalty on Saturday and he called a fair catch on his only shot at a punt return. Nobody else noticed either that Pitt didn't throw towards him very often.
If Larry Fitzgerald doesn't win the Heisman, the award is a sham, and the voters are criminals. Larry is hands down the best receiver I have ever seen at Mountaineer Field. And that includes the Freak in Minnesota.
"Not My Fault" Walt Harris made another little mistake to show his lack of class after the game. After holding his players in the locker room and making the media wait 45 minutes to interview the players, he didn't come out for another 15 minutes after they were finished. He then started his comments off with this, as yet unpublished blurb. "Virginia played a really good ballgame today, I mean West Virginia." Hey Walt, don't even bother trying to tell us you didn't know who you were playing, or what that little dig does to West Virginians. You had this game circled for months, closed down your practices to the media, and puckered up like an industrial vice grip. Not My Fault Walt. I love it.
Speaking of Harris, calling timeouts with three minutes to go when you are down by three scores smacks of a lack of class. He either won't admit he and his team were blasted from stem to stern, or he wanted to get the ball back so he could pad Fitzgerald's stats. If I were coaching the Mountaineers, I'd have thrown the bomb to Chris Henry after they called their second timeout. Then he'd stop talking about Coach Nehlen running it up on him in 1999.
It was nice to see Miquelle Henderson back in the spotlight in the Backyard Brawl. Miquelle has taken 10 games to get himself back into the fold at the wide receiver position this year. And he made the most of it when thrown the ball. Imagine for a minute that we have Henderson, Henry, Jubal Thomas and Eddie Jackson at the wideout position next season, because we do.
While I imagine that the security measures were necessary in the light of what went on at the Tech game, it pained me to look out and see at least 5,000 people stuck outside the North gate when Henderson took his reception to the house to give WVU a 7-0 lead. There were still at least 1,000 outside when the first quarter ended.
I've got a novel idea for the student section seating policy. Go back to validating IDs at the gate. First come first serve for the students. Get them in, search them like you did everyone on Saturday at the Pitt game, then don't let them leave. With the full cavity searches going on at the gates around Mountaineer Field on Saturday there is no way they get enough alcohol upstairs to fuel 11,000 students for three hours.
I am not a fan of the no pass-out policy, but I am betting that it will stick for a while. Since the fans were unable to return to their cars, trucks and campers for a little drink and some food, the concession stands were mobbed with hungry and thirsty fans. Mountaineer Field ran out of hotdogs on Saturday. And at $45 per hotdog, that is a pretty penny.
Don't get ahead of yourself this week. WVU may be tied for the Big East lead, but the Mountaineers haven't won in the Carrier Dome since 1993. Ah, 1993, Jake Kelchner, Robert Walker, 43-0, Big East Champs. Coincidence? You make the call.
I don't care about the convoluted tie breaker package that the Big East displays to figure out who goes to the BCS and who doesn't in the case of a tie. If Pitt beats Miami, and WVU wins out, West Virginia is Big East champ. Period. I don't care where we go bowling. And neither will the money counters. Because we will get a share of first place money. If Miami beats Pitt, and WVU wins out, Miami is Big East champ, because they beat us. That is how it should work.
Like I said, Syracuse is not going to just roll over this weekend. The 'Cuse whipped Miami all over the place in Miami this past weekend, but let a 10-7 second half lead slip away and lost 17-10. The Orangemen sit at 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the conference. Something tells me they are going to be mad about that, and looking for someone to take it out on. I just hope RJ Anderson doesn't try to bean Pac Man in the back of the head on a play close to the sidelines.
I thought I was done, but I'm not. 52-31. Third time the Mountaineers have hung 52 on Pitt in six years. The Mountaineers scored 28 unanswered points in the second half, and 35 overall before the Panthers could muster a response. And WVU threw four passes in the seocnd half. FOUR. Smashmouth football at its finest.