Thursday, June 30, 2011

Top Ten Games of My Generation

Sticking with the "Generation" Theme, Here are my top games during my time in Morgantown. What do you think?

1. (3) Virginia Tech @ WVU...10/22/03: It was a game for the ages. Virginia Tech walked right into an ambush. The Mountaineers punched the Hokies in the mouth, and Tech never responded. The Hokies only touchdown was a blown call on a fumble return. The fans made a huge difference as well, as it grew louder and louder by the minute. It was the closest performance I have ever seen to perfection. At no point did it feel like Virginia Tech could win that game.
Final Score: 28-7 WVU
Offensive Play of the Game: Rasheed Marshall to Travis Garvin for a 93 yard TD Pass early in the 3rd Quarter
Defensive Play of the Game: The blowing up of an option early in the ball game. Mike Lorello recovered the fumble, and it lead to a WVU touchdown.
MVP: Everyone who stepped on the field that night wearing blue and gold.

2. (11) WVU vs (8) Georgia 1/02/06: The Sugar Bowl...and what a Bow it would end up being. WVU jumped out to a 28-0 lead on the speed of Pat White and Steve Slaton. It looked like it would be a walk, but DJ Shockley caught fire and Georgia's Defense locked down. WVU was forced to punt late in the Fourth Quarter when Rich-Rod called for a successful fake punt. That would seal the deal, and WVU had its first ever BCS Bowl win. It was the first of four bowl wins for Pat White, and a record-breaking night for Steve Slaton.
Final Score: 38-35 WVU
Offensive Play of the Game: Steve Slaton's duel 52-yard touchdown runs
Special Teams Play of the Game: The Fake punt. Phil Brady seals up the win with the rush.
MVP. Slaton. Final Line: 26 rushes for 204 yards, and three scores.

3. WVU @ (13)Virginia Tech...11/20/02: "The Stand" game. A heroic performance from a West Virginia team that was finally coming into its own under Rich Rodriguez. It was a weeknight game on ESPN where nobody was giving WVU a chance. Avon Cobourne, Quincy Wilson, and Rasheed Marshall all scored touchdowns, as the Mountaineers took a lead late into the fourth. This is when the defense took the spotlight. A goal-line stand, and an interception on back-to-back possessions sealed it up for WVU. It marked the first win over a ranked opponent in the Rich-Rod Era.
Final Score: 21-18 WVU
Offensive Play of the Game: Quincy Wilson's 3rd Quarter 42-yard touchdown run to put WVU up two scores.
Defensive Play of the Game: Grant Wiley's tackle on 4th and Goal late in the game.
MVP: WVU Defense

4. (19) Louisville @ WVU 10/15/05: One of the most incredible comebacks I have ever seen. WVU was down 24-7 with just over eight minutes to go. A touchdown, an onside kick(an illegal one at that), a field goal, another touchdown, and eight minutes later the game was tied. And then things got really crazy. It took three overtimes, but WVU came up with a stop on Louisville's two-point conversion to win it. This game will be known for the comeback, but what it truly did was introduce WVU fans and the world to Pat White, Owen Schmitt, and Steve Slaton.
Final Score: 46-44 3OT WVU
Offensive Play of the Game: The 2-point conversion that would be the difference...White to Dorrell Jalloh
Defensvie Play of the Game: Eric Wicks and Company tackling Brian Brohom on the 2pt conversion attempt.
MVP: Slaton. Dude had five touchdowns.

5. (16) Pitt @ WVU 11/15/03: It would end up being a second half Rod Rutherford will never forget...even though I'm sure he'd like too. A back and forth game in the first half turned into a beatdown after Rutherford fell off the wagon. Three Rutherford interceptions turned into a 28-0 run for WVU, and the Panthers disappeared.
Final Score: 52-31 WVU
Offensive Play of the Game: John Pennington's TD grab at the end of the 1st half to tie the game.
Defensive Play of the Game: Lance Fraiser's interception to help WVU take over in the second half.
MVP: Quincy Wilson...208 yards on the ground and four scores

6. WVU @ (2) Miami 10/02/03: Sure it was a loss, but one hell of game. And one hell of an effort from the Mountaineers. WVU took the lead late with an unbelievable screen pass to Quincy Wilson. And if it wasn't for a spectacular catch by Kellen Winslow, WVU would have walked out winners. The Mountaineers woke up that night, and ended up making a run all the way to the Gator Bowl in 2003. It was also the nationwide birth of a man named "Pac Man"!
Final Score: 22-20 Miami
Offensive Play of the Game: Quicny Wilson's catch and run. Indescribable.
Defensive Play of the Game: Pac Man's pick at the end of the 1st half to keep it a game.
MVP: Quincy Wilson. Gave us the Highlight of the Year

7. (21) Maryland @ (7) WVU 9/18/04: It had been a long time since WVU had beaten Maryland, which included the 2004 Gator Bowl. However, there was much enthusiasm entering this game. The game was rather defensive throughout, and turned into a field goal contest. Brad Cooper tied it up late for WVU, so it was off to overtime. Maryland only managed a field goal, and the Mountaineers capitalized. Rasheed Marshall found Chris Henry, and the curse was over.
Final Score: 19-16 OT WVU
Offensive Play of the Game: Marshall to Henry for the win
Defensive Play(s) of the Game: Pac Man with two key picks on Maryland drives.
MVP: Pac Man was everywhere.

8. Rutgers @ WVU 11/03/01: It was 80-7! Even Cooper Rego had a touchdown run. The best was that Greg Schiano vowed for revenge the following year. WVU beat Rutgers 40-0 in 2002.
Final Score: 80-7
Offensive Play of the Game: Um, there were a lot of them.
Defensive Play(s) of the Game: Shawn Hackett had a pick-six and a fumble recovery for TD
MVP: Avon Cobourne. 147 yards with four touchdowns

9. WVU @ BC 11/08/03: A good start by BC and an injured Rasheed Marshall made it look like it would be an easy day for the Eagles. Charles Hales thought otherwise. The backup QB threw three touchdowns and led WVU to an impressive comeback win. Pac Man also chipped in with two scores, as BC's wings were clipped. The Superfans would have to wait for another day to beat the Mounties.
Final Score: 35-28 WVU
Offensive Play of the Game: Hales 37 yards to Chris Henry in the Second Quarter to get WVU off the schnied.
Defensive Play of the Game: Pac Man's 47-yard pick-six to tie things up in the first half.
MVP: Hales was at his best.

10. (25) WVU @ Syracuse 11/22/03: A back-and-forth game meant a lot of drama late in the Dome. WVU looked to be in good shape, up ten with about six minutes to play. The Orange made it interesting when RJ Anderson went deep to Walter Reyes for 67 yards and a score. However, WVU would answer just a minuter later with Rasheed Marshall throwing his own 67-yard TD to Chris Henry to seal the deal. Henry finished with 209 yards receiving, most ever by a Mountaineer.
Final Score: 34-23
Offensive Play of the Game: Marshall to Henry for 67 yards.
Special Teams Play of the Game: I think someone may have gotten a hand on the missed PAT late.
MVP: Marshall with one of his best passing days as a Mountaineer.

Talkin' 'Bout My Generation

I'm a early to mid-2000 Mountaineer...a good time to be in the house. It was the return of the Golden Years, with much credit having to go to Rich Rodriguez. Here is my list of the best from my generation.

QB: Pat White (2005-2009): This is pretty much a runaway. The other choices were Brad Lewis (Mr. Concrete), Rasheed Marshall(easily 2nd place), Charles Hales(actually could have started), and Adam Bednarik(he did decapitate a Wofford Strong Safety). White ended up breaking numerous records, and was 4-0 in bowl games, which included the Sugar and Fiesta. He probably will cure all disease at some point too.
Favorite Play: The block he dropped on some poor Husky to release Steve Slaton.

RB: Avon Cobourne (1999-2002): Tough call. There are many solid options here. Could go Steve Slaton, Quincy Wilson, KayJay Harris, Cooper Rego...well, maybe not Cooper. But, Avon gets the call for the total package. He was the model of efficiency, and durability. He went over a 1,000 yards in each season, and was second in career touchdowns. And he never got fat like Slaton.
Favorite Play: Breaking the rushing record against ECU in his senior year.

FB: Owen Schmitt (2005-2007): Dude was a freaking legend, smashing his head open after a terrible punt and breaking facemasks left and right. Also had some speed and skill. Had more clutch runs than most may remember.
Favorite Play: Runaway Beer Truck?

WR: Chris Henry (2003-2004): Probably the best receiver to ever wear the colors. He is in the Top-10 of nearly every receiving category, and only played two years. Best hands I have ever seen. The ultimate what-could-have-been guy. May have been one of the best ever if he could have ever figured it out.
Favorite Play: The catch to finally break the Maryland Spell

TE: Josh Bailey (2002-2005): Yeah, I know this is weak. Dude had 11 career receptions. We never really used a TE.
Favorite Play: Laughing at his malaise in Bio Lab.

C: Dan Mozes (2003-2006): Moved to center and never missed a beat. Rimington Award Winner and Consensus All-American as a Senior. Sadly, injuries and a lack of ideal size and speed kept him out of the NFL.
Favorite Play: When I hugged his parents after Chris Henry scored a TD in the Carrier Dome in 2003.

OT: Lance Nimmo (2000-2003): Very solid tackle for the Mountaineers. Rarely made a mistake, and transitioned well into a spread blocking scheme.
Favorite Play: When he blocked some guy.

OG: Greg Isdaner (2005-2008): Former walk-on turned starter. Only recruited by Georgetown. Award-winner every season he played.
Favorite Play: Surviving the "tent incident" at Cowboys' training camp

DT: Keilen Dykes (2003-2007): Numbers mean nothing for the fat man in the middle, though Dykes could play any position. Known for harassing QB's, Dykes ended with respectable numbers, and helped guide his team to a Fiesta Bowl win.
Favorite Play: Pick-six to the House in the Carrier Dome.

DE: Ernest Hunter (2002-2005): Big Ern was solid against the run, and actually did fairly well to get to the QB in a 3-3-5. He absolutely owned smaller tackles, especially ones from ECU. His career totals vs ECU are a thing of legend, including an interception.
Favorite Play: Shaking his hand and feeling like my arm was going to break in two.

MLB: Grant Wiley (2000-2003): Consensus All-American, and certifiable badass. Almost 500 tackles in four years, including 298 solo. The dude was all over the field at all times. And now models for a living...which makes him even more awesome.
Favorite Play: "The Stand" against Virginia Tech

OLB: James "Dirty" Davis(1998-2002): He gets this mostly on his name. His versatility helps too. He did it all....sacks, blocked kicks, forced fumbles, numerous TFL. Fun player to watch.
Favorite Play: Two blocked kicks on Senior Day vs Boston College

CB: Adam "Pac-Man" Jones (2002-2004): Who doesn't love the Pac? The undersized DB had more swagger than anyone I have ever seen. His abuse of tight ends and big wide receivers is what got him drafted Top-10. Also a world-class return man.
Favorite Play: Abusing Kellen Winslow on this pick.

S: Eric Wicks (2004-2007): Outstanding all-around safety for the Mounties. Great against the run, solid blitzer, and a bit of a ballhawk. He finished his career with double-digit sacks, and double-digit pass breakups. He was also a very good leader.
Favorite Play: The tackle to seal the deal against Louisville in OT.

K/P: Pat McAffee (2005-2008): Yeah, I know he missed those kicks against Pitt, but who else you going to put here, Brad Cooper? He sucked. Plus, McAfee was a damn good punter, and did nail some big FG's.
Favorite Play: 52-yard FG to force OT against Cincinnati