In a split decision, kicker Pat McAfee gets the nod offensively from the BGN staff straw poll over senior wide receiver Rayshawn Bolden. The sophomore kicked three field goals (38 yards, 39 yards, and a career-high 48 yards) to pace West Virginia's offense in the early going.
Using a stiff wind to his advantage, Pat also kicked five touchbacks on eight possible tries. Unfortunately for Pat, though, he had his streak of two consecutive games with a tackle snapped. Still, we'd bet anyday of the week that Pat would take his three field goal, five touchback performance (his best of the season)over a tackle anyday.
On defense, senior lineman Warren Young gets the nod over youngster Reed Williams. The Eightmile, Ala. native knew he would be playing a lot more snaps this week due to ankle injuries to starters Pat Liebig (who did not travel) and Johnny Dingle (who did not play.) Entering the game on West Virginia's third defensive series, Young played both defensive end and nose tackle.
Statistically, Warren finished with eight tackles (three more than he had in the season's first six games) including 1.5 tackles for a loss. He recorded a sack on UConn quarterback Matt Bonislawski for a loss of ten yards. Without question, it was the best game of Young's career.
He led a defense that turned in its best overall performance of the season. As a team, West Virginia recorded seven TFL's for a total loss of 24 yards. Included in that total are three sacks. After struggling early in the season with pressure, the Mountaineer defense has turned up the heat in recent weeks.