Key Moment: West Virginia - Rutgers

Jeremy Ito's miss of a 41-yard field goal and West Virginia's resulting touchdown drive earn our Key Moment honors in the No. 7 Mountaineers 31-3 win at Rutgers on Saturday.

Rutgers used six-plus minutes to drive 60 yards after the Scarlet Knights held WVU scoreless on its first possession of the second half. Head coach Greg Schiano mixed tailback Ray Rice with a key third down conversion pass from quarterback Mike Teel to Tiquan Underwood. RU moved the ball effectively, getting inside the red zone before a hold forced a long series. The Mountaineers got the stop after Teel could not find an open Tim Brown when the wideout and signal caller miscommunicated on a pattern.

Brown ran inside, and Teel threw outside. The incompletion left Ito with a 41-yarder, which sliced right with a combination of a bad boot and the wind picking up at the snap. The miss gave West Virginia the ball at the 24-yard line. Patrick White was sacked on a sprint out play on first down before a second down incompletion setup and third and 17. Rutgers appeared to jump offsides, but the officials let the play go, and White hit superback Steve Slaton with a pass along the sideline. The back avoided a tackle, then accelerated up the Mountaineer sideline to move inside Rutgers territory. A mix of fullback Owen Schmitt – who hurdled an RU defender on the next WVU possession – and runs by Slaton moved the ball inside the five before the junior back took a handoff off the sealed left side for an easy score and a 24-3 lead.

The game, potentially 17-10 with five minutes left in the third, turned into a 24-3 romp heading into the fourth quarter. The three possession spread forced Rutgers to get away from its pure power game via Rice, who finished with 142 yards. The Knights never pulled any closer than 14-3, as West Virginia, behind Patrick White's 300 yards of total offense, recorded its 13th straight win over the Knights. Rutgers, now with three losses overall and two in the Big East, is essentially eliminated from the conference title chase. WVU, 7-1 overall and 3-1 in the league, face a trio of huge games against Louisville, UConn and Cincinnati before the home and season finale' versus rival Pitt.

In all, West Virginia totaled 398 yards of offense and converted a series of third down plays both on offense and defense. Another major aspect was the WVU punt that hit an RU bullet going downfield in coverage. Mortty Ivy recovered the miscue, and the Mountaineers scored on a White rush up the middle. White actually fumbled before he got into the end zone, but because the officials signaled a score, the play was not reviewable. White recovered his fumble anyway, and the 14-0 lead was enough of a cushion that Rutgers began to fret.

The convincing win – West Virginia never trailed – in front of a national audience (82 percent of the country saw the ABC televised game) should help the Mountaineers in terms of the national rankings.


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