Key Moment: West Virginia - Miss. State

Reed Williams' forced fumble and the recovery and return by Marc Magro earn our Key Moment honors in No. 9 West Virginia's 38-13 win over Mississippi State on Saturday.

Leading 14-0 after scoring on its first two possessions, the Mountaineers (6-1) allowed a long kickoff return that reached into the 49-yard line. With MSU setup in WVU territory, it threatened to pull back into the game with a score. The Bulldogs handed to Anthony Dixon on the first play from scrimmage, and the tailback was hit by Williams, coming up from his middle linebacker slot. The ball popped loose and was gathered in by Magro. He went around the sealed right end, and brought the ball back 39 yards to the 16-yard line.

Three plays later, quarterback Patrick White hit Darius Reynaud in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard score and a 21-0 lead. What was potentially a 14-7 or 14-3 game with three-plus quarters left turned into a 21-0 lead. WVU added another score on its next series, taking a 28-0 lead that essentially ended the game entering the second quarter. Mississippi State (4-4) actually outscored West Virginia 7-3 in the second 15 minutes, but the turnover changed the feel of the game from one where the Bulldogs might have been able to be competitive into one where it was forced to play catch-up.

The turnover also forced State to change its offense from the preferred method of ball control and running to having to pass. That allowed WVU's front to simply rish without having to worry about the run, and MSU could never compete. The force was Williams' second of the season. The recovery was Magro's first, and by far the longest runback of his career. He had just one fumble recovery previously, that coming against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

In all, West Virginia tallied 346 yards of total offense and held Mississippi State, ranked 110th in the nation in total offense, to 214, including 45 on the ground. Williams, WVU's leading tackler entering the game with 48, finished tied for a team-best with seven. Magro had five, with one for loss, and the two linebackers continue to rank first and third on the team, respectively. The win, WVU's 12th in a row against nonconference foes counting the Sugar and Gator Bowls, setup the Mountaineers for a major league game at Rutgers Oct. 27, especially after the Knights knocked off then-No. 2 South Florida on Friday.

A close second, as staffer Chris Richardson mentioned, was the opening kickoff. Mississippi State recovered a fumble by Steve Slaton, rarely on the return squad. But the Bulldogs were called offsides, and were forced to re-kick. Slaton returned again, this time holding onto the ball, and White ripped off a 64-yard run on the game's first play from scrimmage. If the confidence was not shattered then, it was when WVU took its 21-0 lead. State simply was never in the game, and the Mountaineer starters gave way to the backups in the second half, giving much needed rest for a three-game stretch that includes Rutgers on the road, Louisville at home and Cincinnati on the road.

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