Players of the Game: WVU-Syracuse

A repeat performance and a solid debut are the primary reasons behind the selections of our offensive and defensive players of Syracuse game.

On defense, spur Eric Wicks pulled off a repeat performance of last year's scoring pick against Virginia Tech as he stepped in front of a Perry Patterson pass and returned it 31 yards for a score. Wicks' pick tied the game at 7-7 and gave new life to a Mountaineer team struggling to overcome self-inflicted wounds.

WVU dominated the opening quarter, but didn't get on the board until Wicks perfectly diagnosed a short out pattern and picked it off. His unmolested romp down the sideline quieted an enthusiastic Orange crowd.

Wicks totalled four tackles on the game, but made them all big plays. Two of them were behind the line for 16 yards in losses, and one of them a big sack to stunt another Syracuse drive. He also broke up a pass and played excellent coverage against SU's short passing attack.

Offensively, the tough running of quarterback Adam Bednarik belied his reputation as a pocket passer and pushed him to offensive player of the game honors.

Adam Bednarik
Bednarik rumbled for 72 yards on 12 carries, including a 27-yard scamper in which he faked an Orange defender to the ground with a pitch fake before cutting upfield through the stunned Syracuse defense. Bednarik averaged six yards per carry to lead all Mountaineer rushers.

Through the air, the Pennsylvania native completed 66% of his passes, hitting on 14 of 21 attempts for 104 yards.


A new feature this year is game balls, which we'll award for big plays or other good performances that didn't quite earn the big honors.

Offensively, Darius Reynuad certainly qualifies as he showed the correct play to catch swing passes and burst upfield after the catch. The sophomore, playing in his first collegiate game, had six grabs for 39 yards and jsut missed ocming up with a long catch in the Syracuse red zone.

Also on the list is Pat McAfee, who, after missing his first collegiate attempt (a 47-yarder) bounced back to hit two crucial kicks to put WVU in front.

Defensively, Mike Lorello played several Syracuse screens to perfection, cutting down Orange ballcarriers right when they were poised for big gains. Lorello also recorded a sack, a forced fumble, and five total tackles in WVU's stellar defensive effort.

Finally, Ernest Hunter, who recorded the first points of his life with a safety to push WVU's lead to 15-7, also deserves mention. As one of the anchors of the defensive line that held Cuse to just 103 total yards, Hunter had four tackles, including his big seven yard smackdown of Patterson in the Syracuse end zone.

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