POG: West Virginia - Louisville

Eric Wicks' two key plays – the fumble return and his pick to setup Pat White's dash – and Darius Reynaud's two scores garner Player of the Game honors in No. 7 West Virginia's 38-31 win over Louisville.

Wicks finished with three tackles, but his most notable plays came late in the contest. Louisville, down 24-14, was steadily building confidence that got a further boost when WVU quarterback Patrick White was sacked and fumbled the ball, giving it possession at its own 34-yard line. The Cardinals had begun to move the ball effectively midway through the first half. It had been slowed, but not totally stopped, and the turnover provided a chance to pull within three points.

After a 14-yard gain from Brian Brohm to Harry Douglas, West Virginia held the next two snaps to just three total yards. On third and seven from the 45-yard line, Brohm dropped and looked downfield. He spied a pair of covered crossing routes, and looked to a further check down, barely seeing John Holmes coming from up the middle. The junior drilled the quarterback, popping the ball loose. It was scooped up by Eric Wicks, who ran 44 yards for a touchdown to put the Mountaineers ahead 31-14 with 6:54 left in the third quarter. It was the seventh time in eight third downs that West Virginia had held UL, and it both swung momentum back to the home side and gave WVU a 17-point cushion.

It was the second fumble West Virginia had converted into points, and its ability to capitalize on the latter turnover when Louisville could not was the difference in the game. Holmes gains Game Ball honors for the play, and for his four tackles, three of which were solo. He also had a sack, one of four on the night, and a tackle for loss.

Darius Reynaud

The offensive champion, Reynaud caught WVU's first two touchdown passes. The wideout broke open twice across the back of the end zone, both times catching nice passes from White for the junior quarterbacks only two scores. Reynaud led all WVU receivers with six catches for 79 yards. His longest was 32, on a key third down play. He broke open on a seam route, and White floated a toss to him that he went up and got. He did miss portions of the game with a leg injury, however.


  • Scooter Berry. The defensive lineman loomed large all game in both the run and pass. He routinely stonewalled the UL front line and got decent pentration. Better, he held down the tackle slot vacated by Keilen Dykes' move to nose. Berry finished with six tackles, third most on the team behind Mortty Ivy and Reed Williams, a one-two linebacking punch that seems to always be at the top. Berry had just the lone tackle for loss, but his mere presence and rock solid play were huge.

  • Johnny Dingle. The consummate pass rusher again made plays. Three tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, numerous disruptions and just an all-around inyourfacethisclose to Brian Brohm earns Dingle a nod. If Brohm chewed gum, Dingle knew the flavor. He showboated a bit, and it wouldn't have been a decent play if Dingle didn't act like the second coming, but at the end spot, no current Mountaineer is better, or has a bigger motor.

  • Pat McAfee. The Joker to Dingle's King, McAfee noted that all his plays were not great. But the junior averaged 42 yards per punt with a long of 58. He placed his kickoffs well, and his last one was located perfectly between two return players for UL. It bounced twice, was mishandled and ended up being downed at the one-yard line. That left the Cardinals with 99 yards to cover to tie the game. They never got close. McAfee also made one field goal, a 28-yarder, and five PATs, which broke the all-time school mark for career extra points.

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