West Virginia unleased a new offensive weapon against Maryland, and his powerful performance headlines our player of the game selections.
Fullback/tailback Owen Schmitt, running mostly from the tailback spot in West Virginia's pwer offense, rumbled for 80 yards in six carries as the Mountaineers battered Maryland 31-19.
Schmitt, aligned in the backfield with freshman Jason Gwaltney, slashed through the Maryland defense on quick power runs inside, then showed surprising speed as he outraced defensive backs before dragging potential tacklers for extra yardage. Schmitt's powerful running set the tone for WVU's fourth quarter outburst, in which the Mountaineers scored 24 of their 31 points.
On defense, linebacker Jay Henry had a huge day. WVU's mike backer had two big third down stops to force Maryland punts, and also made a textbook open field tackle on Terp quarterback Sam Hollenbach to prevent another first down.
Henry capped his day with a fumble recovery of a Holenbach bobble with 3:53 to go in the fourth quarter to set up WVU's final points of the day -- a 40-yard field goal by Pat McAfee that put the Mountaineers up by 12 points, and made a Maryland comeback all but impossible.
Mike Lorello earns a game ball with his six tackle, one sack, one forced fumble performance. Lorello unloaded a huge bomb on Hollenbach in the first quarter, forcing a fumble which put the Terps out of field goal range.
Jason Gwaltney's stats weren't spectacular, but his runs were. Responding to a challenge from running backs coach Calvin Magee to "make the game physical", Gwaltney took on defenders at all turns, running strongly and finishing runs with a vengenace. His second touchdown, in which he spun away from a potential tackler with a move like Baryshnikov, was a highlight reel play.
Pat White, faced with a critical drive to respond to Maryland's 13 point outburst in the fourth quarter, responded beautifully. His 33 yard run on a quarterback keeper set WVU up for an answering touchdown that broke the Terps' will.