As Pat White made his triumphant victory lap around Mountaineer Field after Saturday night's 13-7 regular season finale win over South Florida, one of his fellow seniors interacted with fans in a different way.
"I didn't want to leave," said receiver Dorrell Jalloh. "I was doing snow angels on the 50 with some lady I don't even know. She tricked me into snow angels."
For each of the seniors, the days leading up to Saturday night's final home game were full of emotions. Oh, sure, there is the upcoming Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte against North Carolina, which provides the senior class with a chance to go 4-0 in bowls. And at the very least, a handful of departing players should get some looks from the folks in the NFL, either through the draft or post-draft free agency.
The final home game, though, was special. If you're a senior football player, it always has been. For four or five years, these players have poured their blood, sweat and tears into the most successful era of West Virginia football. Preparing for the last game in front of the WVU faithful can give one a sense of finality.
Such was the case for Jalloh, who admitted that it was not a question of if, but when all the emotions would come racing out as he prepared for his final game. Prior to kickoff, his emotions hit him harder than any USF defensive back came close to doing all night.
"A lot of guys were joking and playing around (during the week)," Jalloh recalled. "I'm a very joyful person, always in high spirits. I never let anybody see me with my head down. Coming out of that tunnel, knowing that it was all over, that's when it really hit me."
"It hasn't hit me all week," he continued. "I knew it was going to come. When I was talking to the team on Friday night, I thought it would come then. I was waiting for it, but it didn't come. It hit me after they called my name and I waited on the 50 for the other seniors to come join me, that's when it really hit me that it was finally over. My time was up. It was time to move on to bigger and better things in my life."
If professional football does not work out, Jalloh has said that he would like to pursue a career in broadcasting and/or the entertainment industry. Before he sets his sights on that, however, there is the matter of the bowl game coming up in a few weeks. Although a pre-New Year's Bowl might not be what the Mountaineers were hoping for or expecting when the season began, the game will be extra-special for No. 21.
Jalloh grew up just three hours from Charlotte in Greensboro, N.C. Playing close to home will give his family a chance to see him play one final time on the collegiate level, which will be even more meaningful to he and his family given some extenuating circumstances leading up to the USF game.
"The weather was really bad coming up the roads from Greensboro, North Carolina to Morgantown," Jalloh explained. "My family had to turn around. To them, it was like a game-time decision. The roads were really slick. My uncle and my mother were sliding, and they asked what I wanted them to do. ‘We're two-and-a-half hours away, talking to a state trooper.'
"That's when I had to think," he said. "I was on the phone and told my uncle to turn around and go back home. My family didn't make it to my senior game, my senior night, but I would rather see them safe and sound at home watching it on TV. I can call them tonight and say ‘I love you' instead of God forbid anything happening to them on the road."
Playing a bowl game that is not only close to home, but also takes place in an area where heavy snowfall and icy roads aren't quite as abundant as they are in West Virginia makes it a virtual certainty that Dorrell Jalloh's family will indeed get a chance to see his final game as a Mountaineer. From that perspective, the senior couldn't be happier to be playing in Charlotte.
"I always believe that everything happens for a reason. (Playing in Charlotte) is a blessing in disguise," he said. "The blessing is that we're going to Carolina. My family will be there, regardless. Everything happens for a reason. I'm just so blessed and thankful that they have another opportunity to see me play one more time."
Just don't expect him to do any postgame snow angels.