We continue our 12 Days Countdown to Kickoff with #11 Fred Wyant.
Hometown: Weston, WV
Record: 31-7, Bowl Record: 0-1
Fred Wyant was at the helm of the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Golden Era of WVU football. As a freshman, Wyant would take control of Coach Pappy Lewis’ offense. Once Wyant became the starter in 1952, he would be the starting quarterback for the rest of his career. Wyant was a capable rusher as well as a passer in Coach Lewis’ option offense. He also had a knack for playing defensive back, collecting 5 interceptions for his career. Wyant was an impressive offensive player, giving opposing defenses problems. For his career, he totaled 3,426 all-purpose yards and 33 touchdowns. Wyant also is the only West Virginia quarterback to beat Penn State three times (WVU only has 9 total wins against Penn State). Fred Wyant was also an adept learner, earning Academic All-American honors in 1953, 1954, and 1955. Following graduation, Wyant would play one year in the NFL and one year in the CFL before becoming an official. His most notable game officiated was the 1981 AFC playoff game between the Dolphins and Chargers, known as the “Epic in Miami.” Wyant was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.
Memorable Game: Fred Wyant showed his ability to take over games in the 1954 contest against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The road game was West Virginia’s season opener on October 2. The original opener against Washington & Lee was canceled after W&L de-emphasized football. West Virginia traveled to Columbia in search of a big win over a good Gamecocks squad. The Mountaineers offense, powered by Fred Wyant, outgained USC on the ground by a 446-94 margin. Wyant accounted for two rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown to dominate the Gamecocks defense. West Virginia coasted to an impressive season opening win over South Carolina by a final score of 26-6.
Competition: There are plenty of notable Mountaineers to have worn #11. Just a sampling of some of the notables: Bruce Irvin, Sidney Glover, Adam Bednarik, Dick Longfellow, and Gary Thompkins.
Teaser: The choice for #10 is a very difficult one. On one hand, we have the school’s second all-time passing leader and on the other, the school’s all-time leading scorer. While the decision was the most difficult one of the countdown, we have arrived at a selection. This player was super and the offense was focused on his special talents. For this writer, it’s all about Steve.