Key Moment - East Carolina

West Virginia was facing a critical point in the game when its special teams came up with a big play that turned out to be the key moment in the East Carolina game.

While many might be thinking of Antonio Lewis' 76-yard punt return for a touchdown, out thinking is a bit less obvious. It was WVU's punt team, not the punt return squad, that came up with our selection for the game's key moment.

Following the Pirates' only touchdown of the day, which cut WVU's lead to a sahky five points at 20-15, the Mountaineers, again failed to get a first down, putting the ball on the WVU 44 with just over four minutes remaining. The Pirates were primed for the upset, and the ECU sideline was jumping with anticipation. A good return would only bolster their momentum, and with WVU's defense winded and tiring, chances seemed good that the visitors would be able to mount another good drive.

Enter West Virginia punter Phil Brady, who, due to the less than classic form of some of his punts, is met with disdain by many fans and observers. However, on this day, it was Brady, as much as any Mountaineer, who made the difference in the game.

Faced with the pressure situation, Brady rolled out to his right and launched a low, line drive punt that bounded, bounced and bobbled until it came to rest on the East Carolina four-yard line. The boot bottled up the ECU attack, and when the Pirates managed just six yards on the next three downs, ECU was forced to punt with just 3:16 remaining. Had the Pirates had better field position, they might well have gone for a first down on the fourth-and-four situation, rather than kicking it away.

WVU took the ball back at the 3:09 mark and proceeded to run all but the remaining 20 seconds off the clock to secure the win.

While the West Virginia defense, quite rightly, will receive a lot of credit for this win, without Brady's punt, the Mountaineers might well have suffered an ugly upset loss.

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