Saturday, September 1, 2012

Game Day

Well folks, West Virginia's first game of the 2012 season is upon us. It's time for the Mountaineers to beat down the Herd one last time. West Virginia all-time has beaten Marshall 11 games to 0. Here is a brief recap of the series to date:

1911: Marshall 15 at West Virginia 17

1914: Marshall 0 at West Virginia 20

1915: West Virginia 92 at Marshall 6

1923: Marshall 0 at West Virginia 81

1997: Marshall 31 at West Virginia 42

2006: Marshall 10 at West Virginia 42

2007: West Virginia 42 at Marshall 23

2008: Marshall 3 at West Virginia 27

2009: Marshall 7 at West Virginia 24

2010: West Virginia 24 at Marshall 21 (OT)

2011: Marshall 13 at West Virginia 34
Now that our countdown is complete it's time to cheer for the Mountaineers! I would also like to thank you all for reading this blog. If you like what you read the past 100 days, you can find me on

Friday, August 31, 2012

1 Tavon Austin

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Career: 2009-Present

Record: 28-11, Bowl Record: 1-2 including a BCS win

Tavon “Awesome” was the late Coach Bill Stewart’s finest recruit. He was made in the same mold as Jock Sanders before him. Austin though was much shiftier and elusive than Sanders was. He would get few opportunities to show off his athleticism as a freshman. He made the most of his few opportunities, scoring a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown, and most notably, a kick return touchdown against Connecticut. Coach Stew realized the talent he had in Austin and made him a permanent fixture as a slot receiver his sophomore season. Austin was able to capitalize on quick bubble screens to make plays in the open field. Austin would pull in 787 yards and 8 touchdowns as a sophomore. With Coach Stew out of the picture this past season, Coach Holgorsen would find a variety of ways to get Austin the football. This past season Austin rushed, caught, and returned both punts and kickoffs. Austin quietly had a remarkable receiving season, becoming the fourth WVU receiver to catch more than 1,000 yards in a season (teammate Stedman Bailey also achieved the same fete last year). Austin totaled 1,186 yards receiving, 182 yards rushing, 1,206 yards in kick/punt returns, and 11 total touchdowns. Looking at how Austin has dramatically improved year after year, it would not be surprising for Austin to tally 1,300 yards receiving, 400 yards rushing, and 20 total touchdowns. While Austin will not sneak up on anyone this year, he is too elusive to be contained (averaging over 200 all-purpose yards a game in 2011).

Memorable Game: The game that put Austin on the map nationally and has been the catalyst for his dark horse Heisman talk is the 2012 Orange Bowl victory over Clemson. It was a miracle that the Mountaineers made it to this BCS game after narrowly defeating Cincinnati, South Florida, and Pittsburgh to win the Big East title. Many national pundits made the Clemson Tigers heavy favorites in the match-up. The game was an offensive shoot-out with both defenses looking wholely undeserving of being on the field. WVU’s defense looked slow and Clemson’s defense could not tackle. While WVU’s defense would work out their issues by the second quarter, Clemson’s defense only seemed to implode as the game progressed. Darwin Cook’s 99 yard fumble return touchdown ripped the soul out of the Tigers team and fanbase. Austin would only further embarrass the Tigers. He should have been tackled short of the endzone on three different occasions, but the Clemson defenders just would not wrap up. Dabo Sweeney must not coach tackling. Austin lit up Clemson for 163 total yards and 4 touchdowns. WVU trounced, straight up demolished Clemson from the second quarter on, winning convincingly 70-33. Clemson fans still have nightmares to this day of that game and are always on their toes, waiting to hear that WVU scored yet again.

Competition: Austin will retire as the best all-around offensive talent the Mountaineers have ever had. He literally can do anything with the football (well except for maybe passing). There are a ton of great #1’s in WVU history that are worth mentioning: Damon Codgill, Jerry Porter, Vann Washingotn, Kay Jay Harris, Johnny Holmes, and Grantis Bell.

Teaser: Well folks, that is it. There are no more players to count down. Well, there was one player that wore #00 for one season: Randy Swinson. I could not find much on this player and more importantly, no picture. So with no other player to preview, I leave you with a clip from my all-time favorite movie: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, Secret of the Ooze. This movie was awesome, from the new mutants to the Super Shredder to Vanilla Ice, TMNT II had it all.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

2 Rasheed Marshall

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Career: 2001-2004

Record: 28-21, Bowl Record: 0-3

Rasheed Marshall was the prototypical Rich Rodriguez quarterback. He did not have the biggest arm, but was mobile and able to make plays on the run. Marshall was forced to sit the majority of his freshman season in 2001, suffering an arm injury early on in the season. By his sophomore season, Marshall had become the starting quarterback for the Mountaineers. He would hold that starting position for the rest of his career, progressively improving each game. With Marshall at the helm, West Virginia had three consecutive winning seasons, leading to three straight bowl game appearances. Marshall finished his career with 54.5% completion percentage for 5,558 yards and 45 touchdowns. He was also quite talented rushing the ball for 2,040 yards and 24 touchdowns. Rasheed’s dual threat nature drew the eyes of NFL scouts, who would convince him to play as a wide receiver. His pro career never really panned out, unfortunately.

Memorable Game: The game that really stands out in Marshall’s career is his performance in the 2003 East Carolina game. WVU traveled down to Greenville, NC following a heart-breaking home loss to Wisconsin. The Mountaineers were in need of a quality win to get the season back on track. The Mountaineers controlled the tempo of the game with a quick rushing attack. Marshall would take advantage of East Carolina stacking the box to beat them through the air with roll out passes. Marshall only completed 11 passes during the game, but those 11 receptions were turned into 4 touchdown scores. West Virginia completely dominated ECU in every phase of the game, man-handling the Pirates 48-7.

Competition: A lot of talented Mountaineers have worn #2. They include Robert Sands, Darius Reynaud, Ellis Lankster, Dan Kendra, and Charles Emmanuel. Marshall got the nod as he was a big part of turning the Mountaineers program around in the early 2000s. Without such a talented quarterback running Rich Rodriguez’s up-tempo offense, the Mountaineers would not have been nearly as successful as they turned out to be.

Teaser: The final player in the countdown is arguably THE most talented Mountaineer to ever come through the program. This player can run, catch, and return the ball at any time for a touchdown. He showed off his wide arsenal of talents in a major bowl victory for WVU. I can’t wait to see this player down in Austin to show the Longhorns how we play ball. Also, I can’t help but think of this movie when I think of Texas. (WARNING: Strong Language)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

3 Quincy Wilson

Hometown: Weirton, WV
Career: 1999, 2001-2003
Record: 24-24, Bowl Record: 0-2
Quincy Wilson came to Morgantown in 1999 to play for Coach Nehlen. He would see limited playing time as a freshman, primarily backing up Avon Cobourne. He would suffer a season-ending injury prior to the 2000 season, forcing him to take a medical redshirt for Coach Nehlen’s final season. A healthy Wilson in 2001, caught the eye of Coach Rich Rodriguez, who found more carries for Wilson during the 2001 and 2002 seasons while Cobourne got the bulk of the carries. During his senior season, Wilson would get the opportunity to play as the featured rusher. Wilson lit up the score boards for the Mountaineers in 2003, punching 12 scores into the endzone. Wilson was best known for his 2003 run in Miami in which he trucked, and I mean trucked, the Hurricane defensive back on his way to the endzone. That play epitomizes Wilson’s style of play. Wilson’s statistics are not the best rushing stats in school history, but his physical running style and West Virginia roots, will always stick in Mountaineers fans memories.
Memorable Game: Wilson’s biggest game statistically came in the 2003 Backyard Brawl. I was at that game (or so I vaguely remember) and it was an exciting game. A few games removed from upsetting the Hokies, the Mountaineers were riding a winning streak coming into the home match-up with the Panthers. The game was nothing but highlights. Each team trading big scores early and often. West Virginia, behind the rushing of Wilson, pulled away in the second half of the game. Wilson ran past, through, and over Panthers for 208 yards and 4 touchdowns. West Virginia put away Pitt, 52-31.
Competition: Wilson is a fan favorite and one of the more recognizable players to have worn #3 for WVU. Some of the honorable mentions include: Paul Woodside, Larry Williams, and Mike Taffoni.
Teaser: I think the countdown needs one more quarterback. This player was a talented dual threat field marshal that led WVU to some impressive victories during his time in Morgantown.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

4 Jahmile Addae

Hometown: Valrico, FL
Career: 2001-2005
Record: 39-22, Bowl Record: 1-3 including a BCS win
Jahmile Addae was one of the hardest hitting safeties to play for the old gold and blue. Addae was excited about the possibility to play in Coach Casteel’s 3-3-5 odd stack defense. He knew that with three safeties on the field at all times, his chances of early playing time were exceptional. Following a freshman season of special teams play, Addae earned a starting safety spot for the Mountaineers. He provided solid deep pass coverage but really excelled in run support. Things looked bright for Addae coming into the 2003 season. Unfortunately, Addae would suffer a season-ending shoulder injury that forced him to take a medical redshirt. Many were skeptical that Addae would still be the same punishing hitter that he was prior to his shoulder injury. He silenced the doubters with one massive hit against the Hokies. Addae would have a successful 2004 campaign, stacking up 59 tackles, 4 pass break ups, and two interceptions. Addae‘s senior season was great not just for him, but also for the Mountaineers defense. The WVU defense was loaded with talent (Wiley, Gyorko, Lorello, McLee, Addae, etc) and primed to make it to a BCS game. Addae would quarterback the WVU defense to a 10-1 regular season. Addae culminated his college career with a solid performance in the 2006 Sugar Bowl win over Georgia (5 tackles). Addae’s career totals are 253 tackles, 27 pass break ups, 8 interceptions, and two touchdowns. While Addae was a really talented safety that was named All-Big East twice (2004, 2005, it still remains to be seen if he will make the WVU Sports Hall of Fame. He is certainly not a lock for selection, but he should at least be on the bubble.
Memorable Game: Addae showed off his big play potential in his last home game at Milan Puskar Stadium, in the 2005 edition of the Backyard Brawl. The Mountaineers were looking for revenge against a Pitt squad that narrowly beat them year before. West Virginia was pursuing their first ever BCS berth and were not going to let the Panthers stand in their way. The Thanksgiving time game was frigid, with temperatures reported near 7-degrees Fahrenheit. Both teams surprisingly started hot, trading scores en route to a 14-13 Mountaineers lead late in the second quarter. West Virginia’s defense then put a strangle-hold on the Panthers offense, keeping Pitt scoreless the rest of the game. Slaton and White piled on points to give WVU a big lead late in the game. Addae would put the final nail in Pitt’s coffin with a 40 interception return for a touchdown. WVU cruised by Pitt 45-13.
Competition: Other players that were under consideration for this selection included Steve Grant, Puppy Wright (who wore #1 as a senior), and Wes Lyons.
Teaser: The player selected at #3 hails from the West Virginia steel town of Weirton. This player is fondly remembered by his nickname “Weirton Steel.” He was a quick, hard-nosed runner that truly looked like WVU’s own man of steel.

Monday, August 27, 2012

5 Pat White

Hometown: Daphne, AL
Career: 2005-2008
Record: 42-9, Bowl Record: 4-0 including two BCS wins
Pat White’s career is one of the most memorable careers of any quarterback in college football history, period. Coming out of high school, Pat White received a lot of attention from southern schools like LSU. Most of the southern programs wanted White to play as a defensive back. Pat White, like Major Harris before him, was steadfast in his desire to play quarterback at the collegiate level. White would have to fight for his right to play quarterback at West Virginia. During his freshman season, he would split time with Adam Bednarik before winning the starting job outright midway through the season. He would launch to stardom during the 2005 season, especially following the 2006 Sugar Bowl. As a sophomore, White would take his game to the next level, becoming a stronger passer to match his exceptional ability to scramble. He would lead the Mountaineers to a Gator Bowl Victory following the 2006 season, in which West Virginia had to weather many injuries. The Mountaineers, led by White, were in search of a National Championship in the 2007 season. While WVU did not reach their goal for 2007, they did achieve a resounding victory over Oklahoma in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl amidst the Rich Rodriguez drama. White would cap off his stellar career with a fourth consecutive bowl victory in the 2008 Meineke Car Care Bowl. White finished his Mountaineer career with 6,049 yards passing, 56 passing touchdowns, 4,480 yards rushing, and 47 rushing touchdowns. He is sixth on the NCAA’s all-time wins list amongst quarterbacks and is the only quarterback in NCAA history to win 4 bowl games. What is astonishing, is the fact that White was never named an All-American. His dual threat nature must have played into his being passed over for All-America all those seasons.
Memorable Game: We could easily discuss a whole host of memorable performances by Pat White, but today we look at Pat White’s last game at Milan Puskar Stadium; the 2008 South Florida game. Pat White meant so much to the West Virginia football program that the school decided to honor him with the school’s first “White Out” game. Fittingly, the game was a snowy night game in Morgantown, building a magical ambiance for White’s home finale. White would move the ball well against the Bulls defense during the first quarter, building a 7-0 lead on a touchdown pass to Tyler Urban. The game would settle into a defensive match as the snow picked up, making the game a very low scoring affair. White would pass and run to give the Mountaineer’s good enough field position to convert a pair of field goals. West Virginia would give Pat White one last win in front of the home crowd, 13-7 over USF.
Competition: No competition here. Some would mention the late Chris Henry as a great to wear #5, but would then realize that there is no rationale argument in which Chris Henry wins this selection over Pat White.
Teaser: Tomorrow we observe the career of a punishing strong safety that helped to put the 3-3-5 odd stack defense on the map. This player, out of Valrico, FL, could always be counted on to deliver the big hit.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

6 Grant Wiley

Hometown: Trappe, PA
Career: 2000-2003
Record: 27-12, Bowl Record: 1-2
Grant Wiley was a major defensive recruit for Coach Nehlen in 2000, his last recruiting class at West Virginia. Wiley was rated as the 8th best linebacker in the East when he came to Morgantown, WV. He became an instant starter at linebacker for the Mountaineers. Wiley compiled 94 tackles as a freshman to earn Big East Rookie of the Year in 2000. With Nehlen leaving the program after the 2000 season, Wiley was asked to learn how to play linebacker in the 3-3-5 odd stack defense. He would excel in the new defensive system, putting up more impressive statistics than in the 4-3 system. Wiley would lead the Mountaineers defense through a tough 2001 season, to build towards impressive defenses in the 2002 and 2003 seasons. Wiley would help the 2002 and 2003 defenses become top 25 defenses and help the Mountaineers make it consecutive bowl games. Wiley also earned some personal accolades along the way; All-Big East 2002 and 2003, and Consensus First Team All-America in 2003. His time in Morgantown was certainly memorable and should earn him a place in the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in the near future.
Memorable Game: Coach Don Nehlen announced to the West Virginia football team that 2000 would be his last season in Morgantown. WVU started the 2000 season with a 3-1 record and were in pursuit of one last bowl game for Coach Nehlen. The season also held special significance because the Mountaineers were closing in on the program’s 600th victory. They would go for win 600 against Idaho. The Mountaineers defense would be challenged by the Vandals high flying passing attack. Idaho jumped out to a 9-0 first half lead. Wiley and the WVU defense would rally around each other to bring the Mountaineers back in the 2nd half. Wiley punished the Vandals with 7 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and a defensive touchdown. West Virginia rallied to a 28-16 win to secure the program’s 600th victory.
Competition: This was a tough choice to make. There are two great Mountaineers that wore #6: Wiley and David Saunders. Wiley’s impressive statistics as one of the best linebackers in West Virginia history. Saunders is arguably the best receiver in WVU history. When it comes down to it, I went with Wiley because I personally lean towards defensive players.
Teaser: Tomorrow we look at the career of the best offensive playmakers in WVU history. He has one of the more popular names in West Virginia, or at least that’s what many outsiders think. This dual threat quarterback was wild and wonderful.