December 6, 2008
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Post-game notes following West Virginia’s 13-7 victory over USF Saturday night at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown:
Game and season captains for West Virginia were senior wide receiver Tito Gonzales, senior offensive lineman Ryan Stanchek, senior linebacker Mortty Ivy, senior kicker Pat McAfee and senior quarterback Pat White.
There were no first time starters against USF. A total of 43 Mountaineers have at least one game of starting experience. Tops on that list are senior offensive lineman Ryan Stanchek (46), senior quarterback Pat White (41), senior offensive lineman Jake Figner (37) and junior offensive lineman Greg Isdaner (36).
Pat McAfee played in his 50th career game against USF becoming just the eighth Mountaineer in school history to play in 50 career games. He joins Eric Wicks, Keilein Dykes, Thandi Smith, Marc Magro, Larry Williams, Mike Lorello, Vaughn Rivers.
With the bowl game, McAfee will play in his 51st career game, setting the WVU record.
Tyler Urban’s 12-yard touchdown reception from Pat White marked the tight end’s second catch of the season. Both of those catches went for touchdowns.
White’s touchdown pass to Tyler Urban marked his 18th touchdown pass of the season, passing Major Harris for fourth place on WVU’s single season touchdown passes list.
White’s touchdown pass marked his 100th career touchdown responsible for - a BIG EAST and WVU record.
Both of USF’s drive-stopping turnovers in the red zone were caused by sophomore safety Sidney Glover. Glover both forced and recovered Mike Ford’s fumble at the WVU five.
Late in the second quarter with USF driving for a go-ahead field goal, Glover stepped in front of a Matt Grothe pass to put the Mountaineers into position to kick a go-ahead field goal right before the end of the half.
It marked his first career fumble recovery and second career forced fumble and was his first career interception; and WVU’s 15th interception as a team.
Pat McAfee’s 45-yard field goal was the third longest of the season. With the field goal he moved into second place on the BIG EAST’s all-time career scoring and career kicking lists. He added a 42-yard field goal early in the third quarter. McAfee finished the regular season 16 of 19 in field goal tries.
Ellis Lankster intercepted Matt Grothe on the second play of the second half. It was his third of the season and fourth of his career.
Pat White now showes a school-record 10,142 yards of total offense for his career.
Noel Devine moved past Bob Gresham into ninth place on West Virginia’s single-season rushing list with his 90 yards tonight against USF. Devine now shows 1,228 yards rushing this season.
With a third-quarter shutout of the USF offense, WVU has now just given up 14 points in the third quarter for the season. East Carolina and Louisville are the only teams to score in the third quarter against the Mountaineers this season.
Meineke Car Care Bowl officials were in the Mountaineer locker room to invite West Virginia to face a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference, most likely North Carolina, for the game to be played on Saturday, Dec. 27, in Charlotte, N.C. The Mountaineers faced Virginia in the inaugural bowl game in 2002, then called the Continental Tire Bowl.
The two teams were greeted to light snow showers during pregame warm ups. Work crews began clearing off the snow at about 6 pm. The snow began to subside right before kickoff.
WVU managers scraped out the number 5 in the snow in the middle of the field before the two teams took the field. Mountaineer Maniacs in the student section also formed a number 5 in blue shirts before the student section was opened.
People in the press box estimated about half the stadium was dressed in white for “White Out.”
For most of the first quarter there was a brisk wind of about 15-20 mph with the flag at the North end of the stadium flying upright. The announced temperature at game time was 29 degrees with a wind chill of 21.
With two weeks to prepare, South Florida showed some wishbone in both the first and second halves.
Pat McAfee’s 69-yard punt was wiped out by a roughing the kicker penalty. The official on the field thought the ball was tipped by the replay showed McAfee got the kick off cleanly before being hit. That would have been six yards shy of his career-long punt of 75 yards performed two years ago against Rutgers.
West Virginia coach Bill Stewart chose to start the game with Jock Sanders at tailback. Noel Devine made his first appearance with 10:58 remaining in the second quarter when Sanders left briefly with an injury.
A Devine third-down run of 14 yards gave WVU first and 10 at the 42. A 15-yard pass interference penalty and a 15-yard White-to-Arnett completion put West Virginia into position to convert a 45-yard McAfee field goal.
West Virginia’s field goal drive covered 52 yards in just 33 seconds.
USF’s second roughing the punter penalty gave West Virginia a first and 10 at the USF 42.
Another unsuccessful third-and-one play almost came back to haunt the Mountaineers once again at the USF 26 with 5:36 remaining in the game when Noel Devine was tackled for a five-yard loss, giving Pat McAfee a 49-yard field goal try in the wind which he missed to the left.
USF then drove to the WVU 14 yard-line where the Mountaineer defense held on fourth and 12 from the 17.
It was the third time this year the West Virginia defense has held the opposition to a touchdown or less in a game this year. USF finished with a 3567-280 advantage in total yards, but lost the turnover battle 3-1.
The Mountaineers finished the regular season as the Big East’s top team in turnover margin at plus-12.
“We can’t have that many turnovers,” said USF coach Jim Leavitt. “I thought we were in a position to win the game at the end and that’s what we wanted. Our guys said there was quite a bit of contact there in the corner, but I’m not sure.
“I will have to look at the tape. It will be disappointing if there was some contact and no call made if there maybe should have been.”
With its eighth victory, the Mountaineers have now produced at least eight victories in a year for the seventh straight year. It is also marks the seventh straight bowl appearance for WVU, presently the ninth longest streak in the country.
“I’m proud of this team; the staff,” said Stewart. “Look at other places and see what happens in transition years. I’m very proud of this transition year.”