POG: West Virginia - Cincinnati

Our picks for the outstanding players in West Virginia's key win over Cincinnati.

Pat White's 295 yards of total offense and two rushing touchdowns and Marc Magro's team-best eight tackles, including two sacks, garner Player of the Game honors in No. 6 West Virginia's 28-23 win at No. 22 Cincinnati.

White rushed for two touchdowns and 155 yards to lead the Mountaineers – who could jump to fourth in the latest BCS rankings after losses by top five Oklahoma and Oregon – to a major win at Saturday. The junior became the first quarterback in the Big East and just the 12th in NCAA history to eclipse the 3,000 yard rushing mark. The win, WVU's 24th in 27 games with White, sets up a BCS berth game this week against Connecticut. Whichever team wins will capture the league's automatic invitation. But the Mountaineers want more – and they might be able to get it. WVU (9-1, 4-1 Big East) now needs only to beat UConn and Pitt and have either LSU lose or Oklahoma beat the Kansas-Missouri winner in the Big XII title game to vault into second place provided no team jumps them.

That's largely due to White. He put on a dazzling display just before the break, gouging UC for 67 of the 68 yards in a late push that gave the Mountaineers a needed 21-10 lead at the half. He also completed 13 of 19 passes for 140 yards. His shorter runs gave WVU's defense much-needed rest, and allowed the Mountaineers to play a more ball controlled style than could be imagined.

Marc Magro

Magro, besides his stops, forced a fumble that should have resulted in a score if not for White's interception on a high throw to Darius Reynaud. He also played defensive end in key rushing situations and manned his normal linebacker slot. Magro's toughness was a solid addition to a lineup primed for speed and coverage skills due to Cincinnati's scrambling quarterback and fleet receiving corps. The Morgantown native was a main reason WVU is returning home with two games left to play in a bid to reach its first true title game since 1989.


  • Keilen Dykes. The senior defensive lineman and fourth-year starter again anchored a line that refused to allow UC to run the football. The Bearcats finished with just 84 yards rushing. Dykes, who did leave the game at one point with an injury, had three tackles and one sack. West Virginia sacked Ben Mauk five times, or more than half as many times as the right-hander had been sacked this season entering the game.

  • Johnny Dingle. Dingle had one sack and two tackles for loss. He also drew two holding calls on the UC offensive line with his rushing ability and foot speed. The end continually harassed Mauk and is really the lone playmaker along the odd stack front that uses Dykes mainly to clog the middle and Scooter Berry as a workmanlike tackle. Dingle makes the defense go, and he was acknowledged by head coach Rich Rodriguez for his play, as the seventh-year mentor noted that he drew some attention to himself, both with his celebrations and his play.

  • Pat McAfee. The kicker made every try – just four point-afters – but also punted three times for an average of 49 yards. He shifted field position with one 87-yard punt, which pinned Cincinnati, at least for a moment. The Bearcats quickly moved downfield, but it would have been a shorter jaunt if not for McAfee. That the junior did it on a rugby kick makes the feat even more surprising.

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