"It was just a play action pass and we knew the situation," said Noechel of the second and nine on the Wofford 40-yard line. "I saw a tight end come across the middle and I just sat there on him. It would have been six, but I sort of lost my feet and the guys were giving me a hard time about that."
All kidding aside, Nochel's second career interception put West Virginia's offense in excellent field position. Adam Bednarik capped the drive with his first collegiate rushing touchdown from three yards out. Though Noechel did not know it at the time, his play changed the entire game.
It gave WVU the much ballyhooed early lead and two-possession cushion.
Rodriguez said before the game that he would continue to play any quarterback who was moving the offense. Bednarik was 4-4 in passing with two touchdowns in as many drives when Rodriguez put in White.
"Did I say that?" Rodriguez said. "Sometimes I am just trying to answer the question. But I would say that this was a different game. Getting up 14 points on these guys, not that they could not come back, but you felt comfortable. Our defense got a pretty good read on what they were doing."
Noechel's play was the biggest in a very solid day for the WVU stoppers, ranked No. 1 in total defense in the nation.
It limited Division I-AA Wofford's unique "wingbone" offense to 78 yards on 45 carries – an average of just 1.73 yards per carry – and 154 yards overall. West Virginia had three sacks as the Terriers threw just 11 passes and could easily maintain its No. 1 status.
Noechel's other interception came last season at UConn, also the last time before Wofford that the Mountaineers rushed for more than 300 yards.