From the West Virginia University Mountaineers victory over the Liberty University Flames:
The More Things Change Award goes to ... the WVU offensive line. The coaches for some reason played musical chairs with the pieces of the O-line puzzle in preseason camp to the extent that most everyone was confused. Consequently, the big men kept the Flames' four-man rush at bay, but Noel Devine couldn't go vertical until midway in the fourth quarter.
The More Things Stay the Same Award is presented to ... the Mountaineer pass defense. For as long as I've been watching West Virginia football, from Carlin through Bowden and Cignetti, and Nehlen, then Rodriguez, and now Stewart, there have been two sure things: A) sofas will be torched, and B) WVU will not consistently stop the crossing route.
The winner of the Permanent Potential Award is ... WVU's kickoff coverage. New personnel has been shuffled in and out as late as the next kickoff. Newfangled schemes understood only by the opposing coaches have been devised. Still, empty lanes are filled by the guy with the ball and the defense starts the series with its backs against the wall, if we're lucky.
The GPS Award, or otherwise known as the What's Your 20? Award, is presented to ... WVU's center Joey Madsen. His O-line mates didn't look particularly with it, but Joey held his position and kept 6'5" and 377 pound Liberty nose tackle Asa Chapman from doing much damage. Asa, who has applied for his own area code, should have manhandled everyone. The Google Earth satellite, however, didn't move as it easily stayed steady on Madsen.
The You Can't Keep A Good Man Down Award goes to ... WVU slot man Jock Sanders. You have to jump through many hoops after being convicted of a DUI, one of which is a sacrifice of dignity. It's difficult to get that confidence back, self-confidence and the confidence of others alike. As well, Sanders' ordeal was very public. So was his resurgence. The pressure on him had to have been most oppressive, but he pulled in eight balls for just under 100 yards. More importantly, Jock laid out some beautiful peel blocks downfield. I think he's back.
The winner of the 90 Percent of Life is Just Showing Up Award, or the Woody Allen Award, is ... WVU linebacker Reed Williams. By all rights, Reed should have simply hung them up and gone to class to become a successful anything he wants. We would have completely understood. However, he went under the knife more than I would and lined up for another season. Williams has more cajones than the Pittsburgh Steelers. And, we're damned fortunate he's the leader and he's there.
The Out of The Frying Pan Award is presented to ... WVU punter Scott Koslowski. You go left instead of right, or was it right instead of left. We've all made that decision. Few have paid more dearly than Scott's choice on the night of the 2006 Louisville game. Jeez Louise! 2006? That's halfway through W, twice! Through it all, Koslowski hung tough and is now getting one more moment in time. He has a big leg and has shaken off the rust and the jitters. Don't worry about your punter.
The And Into The Fire Award goes to ... WVU field goal kicker Tyler Bitancurt. Talk about clutch! Your offensive line inexplicably cannot move through the red zone into the end zone. So, you, who on the street would not be identified as a football player, are called into service, four times. The game is closer than it should have been, and you simply nail all four. Do that a few more times and you'll be the decade's nominee for the Jeff Hostetler "Oklahoma? What Oklahoma?" Award.
The winner of the It's Shake and Bake And I Helped Award is ... WVU scat back Noel Devine. Noel certainly has substantial shake and has been known to bake a defense or two, but against Liberty he did much more than just help. The fans in my section were screaming for him to go downfield while Devine was simply back there running for his life. Not until the final stanza was he set free. Instantly, he covered the 24 yards and stood in the end zone. Not bad at all.
Finally ... the Oh, No! There Goes Tokyo! Award, commonly called the Godzilla Award, each week goes to the WVU player who was the man among boys. This week's winner is ... WVU quarterback Jarrett Brown! He simply put the team on his shoulders and willed them downfield.
Thank you. See you Monday.