Our picks for the outstanding performances in the West Virginia - Louisville football game
Pat White's career passing performance and John Holmes' sack and solid all-around game weren't enough to lift No. 3 West Virginia past No. 5 Louisville in a disappointing 44-34 loss. It was enough for the two to claim BlueGoldNews.com Player of the Game honors.
White completed 13 of 20 passes for a personal-best 222 yards. The sophomore signalcaller also ran for 124 yards and scored four times for an offense that was limited only by itself when tailback Steve Slaton decided to play with a hurt and numb forearm only to fumble, which directly led to a key UL score. So though White ran for 31 yards less than his backfield mate, his leadership, poise and ability to innovate on broken plays earns him offensive honors.
White was the catalyst for most of WVU's 540 yards of offense. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry and 17 yards per pass. He created gains where there were none and, twice, scores when UL proved unable to halt White's legs or the blocking drive of the Mountaineer offense line. And while he certainly wasn't flawless, fumbling twice, once on a later two-point conversion and once on West Virginia's second drive, he made a play even on the latter, recovering the muff for a gain.
Holmes brought a bit of everything to a badly-hemorrhaging defense, providing pressure, decent pass coverage on a night that saw very little of it from WVU as UL averaged 8.1 yards per play, and making 2.5 tackles, one of which was a sack for a seven-yard loss.
The safety was one of the few players that combined execution and athleticism to play well and slow an offense that managed 468 yards, 354 of which came through the air. That, in a game where little went well in the second half for West Virginia's odd stack set, garners him defensive player of the game honors.
West Virginia never quit nor wilted under the pressure of a stadium-record crowd of 43,217, a brief power outage when part of the lights went out – and a longer one when its offense fumbled six times, losing three – and it actually rallied to pull within 10 points twice. The formula for winning this one was pretty simple: limit big plays, minimize mistakes and execute. The Mountaineers did neither, but they also did not stop playing. It just never did so well for extended periods on offense, or at all on defense.
The wideout caught four passes for 78 yards, with a long of 40. He made numerous defenders miss and provided another spark for West Virginia's offense, which lacks solid passing threats. He was stacked up often on kickoff returns, an anticipated advantage that turned into UL special teams domination. But in a game that saw few very good performances, Reynaud came close.
WVU's offensive front.
It had holds. It got blown up a time or two. But it also blocked well and was the base, as it always is, of a very good offensive outing. The Mountaineers netted 540 yards on 71 plays, an average of 7.6 yards per play. It ran at will, scoring 30-plus points. And it kept blocking so White could spot areas in which to run. Center Dan Mozes, in particular, played well, effectively blocking and holding an athletic, mobile defensive front that also had size.