Speed Kills Auburn, Thrills West Virginia

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Speed Kills Auburn, Thrills West Virginia
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

You have all heard the saying, “Speed kills!”


Well, in the case of John Belushi, Chris Farley, and Princess Diana, truer words were certainly never spoken.


But in West Virginia, speed doesn’t kill; speed thrills!


In the movie, “The Right Stuff,” the film starts and ends with the portrayal of West Virginia native, Chuck Yeager.


As the first man to fly fast enough to break the sound barrier, Yeager became a legend throughout the entire state.


And this Saturday night, Auburn is going to find out that, for them, speed kills. But speed absolutely thrills the West Virginia partisans.


As West Virginia prepares to take on Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium, I am greatly looking forward to this nationally televised game on ESPN.


With their outstanding football tradition, Auburn is clearly one of the finest football programs in the country. Moreover, their fans are some of the most devoted, hard-core, classy, and fun-loving people that I have ever met.


I really had a great time talking to several of them in Morgantown last season. And I must admit that I am extremely disappointed I can’t make it down there for this game.


In the past few years, a couple of SEC teams, Auburn and Mississippi State, have come to Morgantown. They have been some of the friendliest visitors I’ve ever encountered at a Mountaineer game.


It almost makes me sorry to see them get their hearts broke again.


In last year’s contest in Morgantown, the arm of Pat White and the speed of Noel Devine were simply too much for the Tigers.  After spotting Auburn a 17-3 lead in the second quarter, the Mountaineers prevailed by a score of 34-17.


But in this year’s game, Pat White is gone.


Moreover, I have a hunch that many of the Auburn faithful believe that White’s departure for Miami will make the difference for them.




The Tigers don’t have the right stuff to win this game.


Jarrett Brown is a fifth-year senior, who has been patiently waiting his turn to get the starting job at quarterback.


Despite his role as a back-up, he has already started several football games. And the young man has never lost a game as a starter.


Although he isn’t as fast as White, Brown’s speed is incredibly deceptive. He is big and strong; he takes long strides. He hurts you when you try to tackle him. Brown has yet to be sacked.


To go along with all of that, Jarrett has a big-time arm.


Moreover, should West Virginia prevail in this game and Brown have a good night, I will not be surprised to see his name listed as a possible Heisman contender.


And to the Auburn fans already acquainted with Noel Devine, it only gets worse.


Although the Mountaineers still have speed to burn, they also have a legitimate downfield passing threat, something they never employed under Rich Rodriquez.


If Auburn gets to looking in the backfield for Devine, then they may find Jock Sanders, Tavon Austin, Bradley Starks, or Alric Arnett streaking past them, while catching a pass from Jarrett Brown.


Keep these names in mind, because you might see them again. But you will have to look fast. The names blur at the speed of flight.


If that wasn’t bad enough, Auburn must also deal with return men such as Brandon Hogan and Mark Rodgers. And like the film, these Mountaineers are good in space.


I certainly do not underestimate the huge advantage that Auburn has in their favor, in front of their hometown fans. However, I don’t think that the Tigers have faced anyone this year with West Virginia’s speed, on both sides of the ball.


The fastest thing that West Virginia should encounter during this game is the War Eagle, flying the coop.


West Virginia prevails 30-24.


So, if those blue and gold jerseys appear blurry to you, Tiger fans, please do not adjust your television sets. And to those of you at the game, don’t assume it had anything to do with your beverage consumption while tailgating.


The Mountaineers really are that fast.


But please drive home carefully after the game. Speed does kill; and you’re not a Mountaineer.

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