Key Moment - Mississippi State

Mississippi State was moving the ball. It was building momentum. And it was threatening to pull both within a score and the string on No. 4 West Virginia's undefeated season. Then there was Eric Wicks.

The bandit safety intercepted former-starter-turned emergency reserve quarterback Mike Henig's end zone pass early in the fourth quarter to snuff a promising MSU drive and stitch up a perfect 5-0 non-conference mark and WVU's first win over an SEC team on the road since a 7-6 win over Kentucky in 1969, when WVU went 10-1.

The Bulldogs (1-5), down 21-7, moved the ball from their 26-yard line to the WVU seven when Henig spied an open Tony Burks in the end zone. The right-hander cocked and fired, drilling Burks right in the hands with a hot ball that bounced off the junior and into Wicks' hands. The interception, one of two West Virginia picks on the day, abruptly halted what had been an all-too-promising MSU comeback, one filled with solid passing and an exploitation of the Mountaineer secondary that might prove extremely useful to Louisville, if not Syracuse and Connecticut.

The Mountaineers allowed 250 yards passing. But, as has been their fashion, stiffened in the red zone and relied on their secondary and a formerly-unseen blitz package that pressured the MSU signalcallers (Henig and starter Omarr Conner) and forced rapid decisions and throws if not on a rollout attempt.

It ain't a pretty style. But it's extremely effective, and the most effectual play of the day was Wicks'. Part MSU execution folly and part West Virginia ability and determination, it summed the contest as well as any. The Mountaineers tallied six sacks (six more than they had in their first four games combined), stopped MSU when they had to and, with Wicks and linebacker Bobby Hathaway, intercepted two passes. A brilliant effort? No. But an effective one in a road game at an SEC school, if one that currently plays like it in name only.

Add in WVU quarterback Patrick White's game-sealing 46-yard touchdown run two possessions after Wicks' pick, and the latter's recovery of a last-ditch on-side kick the play gains Key Moment status for the 42-14 win over Mississippi State.

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