East Carolina had just missed a field goal at the conclusion of an eight-play drive, leaving a window open for struggling West Virginia to chip away or altogether erase a seven-point Pirate lead. The Mountaineers had the ball with hopes of marching down the field and in the process, send a message that despite the repeated struggles of their defense, the high-powered offense had come to play.
On second down and ten, senior quarterback Patrick White found slot receiver Jock Sanders open in the flat. One week earlier, both White and Sanders had shined brightly in a season-opening win over Villanova at Milan Puskar Stadium. Twice against the Wildcats, they had connected through the air for touchdowns.
This time, Sanders hauled in White's soft toss and proceeded to speed upfield towards the first-down marker, hoping to give West Virginia the slightest shred of momentum. As Sanders lunged forward, though, East Carolina free safety Van Eskridge stripped the football from his possession.
A massive pileup ensued, and while ultimately it was WVU tackle Ryan Stanchek who emerged with the loose pigskin, Big East officials had already ruled that the Pirates had recovered.
Three plays later, ECU quarterback Patrick Pinkney lofted a high, arcing pass to the corner of the end zone. Receiver Alex Taylor timed his jump perfectly over a defending Brandon Hogan. With the catch and Ben Ryan's extra point, East Carolina's lead grew to 17-3.
Though more than 30 minutes of football remained, the Pirates proved just as relentless in their attack in the second half. For ECU, it was two upsets in two weeks. And for West Virginia? A stunning turn of events, not so much in the end result, more so in the alarming ease with which the Pirates methodically went about their business in a three-touchdown torching of the reigning Fiesta Bowl champs.