West Virginia 35, UConn 13: Huskies Doomed By Mistakes, Pat White

Frank AhrensSenior Writer INovember 1, 2008

WVU put on another quality second-half performance today, holding UConn to only 72 second-half yards and scoring four touchdowns.

But the key play in a second half full of mistakes for UConn began with a whopper, when WR Kashif Moore, who had beaten Brandon Hogan, who had no help, by five yards, dropped a ball right in his hands. If the ball is delivered on the mark, it’s a walk-in touchdown.

Even if Moore could have hung onto the ball, he’d have been down at the 10-yard line and UConn would have been set up for a TD or at least a FG attempt.

That would have made the score 20-7 and a different game.

But Moore dropped the ball, UConn went backwards on the next play, and the Huskies had to punt.

After that, the Mountaineers went into second-half-Auburn mode. Even though Noel Devine was held to only 60 yards rushing, Pat White rushed and passed for more than 100 yards each, throwing for one touchdown (to Jock Sanders, who had three TDs) and running for two more, both vintage Pat White runs.

It’s amazing that after four years of seeing White, defenders still can’t take the right angle on him. They always take too sharp of an angle at White, which means that when they get to the spot where they think they’re going to tackle White, he’s already passed by.

On the other hand, if you take too shallow of an angle on White, you’re giving up yardage and creating space in front of him, inviting him to juke you.

That was White’s second touchdown run, when he squirted through three UConn defenders, who were certain they had him. On his first touchdown run, White appeared sacked but then sidestepped out of the pocket and glided—that’s the only word for it—down the left sideline.

I don’t know how he managed to not step out of bounds. I think White has the power to turn himself into a two-dimensional shape at will, allowing him to slip through paper-thin slots.

I guess I know why Coach Stewart moved Hogan to cornerback: His upside is pretty high. If he gets his hands on an interception—he got two today—you’re almost guaranteed at least a 20-yard return. His second return was a speedy upfield knife. And he really can’t learn less about how to play cornerback.

I was glad to see Mortty Ivy get another interception (his third of the season) and Scooter Berry pick up a fumble. Also, the defense held UConn running back Donald Brown—the nation’s second-leading rusher—to less than 100 yards. A nice feat. In addition, the three-man rush of the defensive line is really starting to bring the pressure.

All told, UConn had a whopping five turnovers. UConn seniors have never beaten WVU.

All in all, it was a solid road win against a Big East foe, knocking them out of the conference race. It was, by the way, WVU’s first road win of the season.

WVU is 3-0 in the Big East and the only undefeated team. The only other teams with one loss are Cincy—which comes to Mountaineer Field next Saturday night, where magic things happen—and Pitt, which WVU gets in its second-to-last game and probably is the toughest game remaining, though Cincy’s defense looked pretty disciplined and tough against South Florida on Thursday night.

Weird, ramshackle South Florida is in free-fall with three conference losses, comes to Morgantown in December, and by then probably will have lost interest.