West Virginia: 2010 Big East Champions!


Yesterday was certainly a bittersweet day in Mountaineer Nation. Since I have a headache, I’m going to briefly recap both games after the jump.

WVU did their part of the bargain, routing Rutgers 35-14, coming alive in the 2nd half.

Today’s win give the Mountaineers a share of the 2010 BIG EAST title. The Mountaineers last won the conference championship in 2007. WVU has won the BIG EAST title in five of the last eight years. Last time WVU won the Big East title outright: 2005

Scooter Berry made his team-leading 39th start. Today’s game marked the final home contest for 20 Mountaineer seniors: Scooter Berry (DL), Eddie Davis (WR), Noel Devine (RB), Larry Ford (DL), Sidney Glover (DB), Glen Gress (DL), Trippe Hale (DB), Brandon Hogan (DB), Eric Jobe (OL), Will Johnson (TE), Jeremy Kash (H), Derek Knight (DB), Pat Lazear (LB), Anthony Leonard (LB), Chris Neild (DL), Gregg Pugnetti (P), Jock Sanders (WR), J.T. Thomas (LB), Matt Timmerman (OL) and Bobby Weston (LB). Seniors, we thank you for your time here in Morgantown, and wish you the best of luck as you move on to hopefully play on Sundays!

The Mountaineers wore a No. 52 sticker on their helmets today in honor of injured Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand. Very kind gesture on the part of the football team.

With his first quarter, 29-yard reception, Jock Sanders extended his consecutive games with a receptions streak, having caught a pass in the last 40 straight contests. He moved into a tie with Khori Ivy for first place on the WVU Consecutive Games with a Receptions list, and for second place on the all-time BIG EAST list. Sanders finished the day with six catches for 81 yards. He ranks No. 1 on the all-time WVU receptions list with 201 career catches. With 31 yards on kick and punt returns and six rushing yards, Sanders finished with 118 all-purpose yards, pushing his career total to 3,238, the 10th best mark on the WVU all-time list.

Tavon Austin’s first quarter, 19-yard touchdown reception was his eighth receiving score this season, and gave him nine in his career. Austin’s third quarter, 43-yard reception marks his second 40-plus yard catch in as many games. Austin added a 46-yard rushing TD near the beginning of the fourth quarter; the rush was a career long and his first score on the ground this season. He now owns two career rushing touchdowns. Austin has scored six TDs in four games. With six catches today, Austin pushed his season total to 53. He is now tied with Jock Sanders (2008) for No. 2 on the all-time WVU Sophomore Receiving List. Austin ended the game with 121 receiving yards, a career-best number. He is the first WVU receiver to pass the 100-yard mark since Brad Starks netted 100 yards against UNLV. J.T. Thomas’ first-quarter forced fumble and recovery were both his second of the season and career fourth. Ryan Clarke’s second quarter, 1-yard touchdown run was his fourth rushing TD in three games. Clarke added another 1-yard rushing score in the third quarter. Clarke ended his day with a fourth quarter, three-yard rushing touchdown, giving him back-to-back multiple-touchdown games. The score was his sixth rushing TD in four games, bringing his season total to eight and his career total to 16. With three TDs in the game, Clarke became the second Mountaineer to score three times in one game this season; Brad Starks caught three TDs against UNLV. It is the first career three-score game for Clarke. Austin and Clarke’s fourth-quarter scores were just the second and third Mountaineer fourth-quarter TDs against a conference opponent this season. Will Johnson’s third quarter, 37-yard reception was a career long.

Geno Smith finished the day 23-for-28 with one touchdown. His 352 passing yards is a career high and the eighth-best single game total for a Mountaineer. He previously threw for 316 yards at Marshall. With 44 yards rushing, Smith finished with 396 yards of total offense, also a career high. The mark is the fifth-best single game total for a Mountaineer. Smith’s 352 passing yards pushed his season total to 2,567 and moved him to No. 1 on the all-time WVU Sophomore passing list. He passed Marc Bulger (1997, 192/323/2,465). With 23 TD passes this season, Smith continues to rank No. 2 on the WVU Single-Season Touchdown Passes list. Smith’s 23 completions pushed his season total to 219 and moved him to No. 2 on the all-time WVU Single-Season Pass Completions list. He passed WVU Director of Athletics Oliver Luck (1981, 216).

Noel Devine’s 31 rushing yards pushed his career total to 4,265. He continues to rank No. 3 on the WVU all-time career rushing list and No. 4 on the BIG EAST chart.

Tyler Bitancurt finished the game with five points, bringing his career total to 149, the seventh-best total on the WVU all-time kick scoring list. For his career, he is now 81 of 82 on extra points, the seventh-best mark in school history. Bitancurt’s late second quarter, 37-yard field goal attempt was blocked. He is now 24-of-30 for his career.

WVU is 88-49-1 in all-time BIG EAST play and is 47-21-1 in all-time BIG EAST home games. The Mountaineers are now 48-14 in BIG EAST games since the start of the 2002 season, and 30-11 in their last 41 conference games.

Coach Bill Stewart is now 15-6 overall in BIG EAST play and 15-6 at home.

Today’s win pushes WVU’s series advantage over Rutgers to 32-4-2. The Mountaineers have won 16 straight over the Scarlet Knights, dating back to 1994.

With nine wins this season, WVU is among only 10 programs to have at least that many in each of the last three seasons. They join Ohio State, Boise State, Virginia Tech, TCU, Alabama, Utah, Oregon, Nebraska and Oklahoma State. Definitely good company to be in.

Since 2000, WVU is 68-2 when scoring 30 or more points in a contest.

However, WVU to the BCS was not meant to be, as the USF Bulls fell short to the UConn Huskies 19-16 after UConn kicked a 53 yard FG. UConn will represent the Big East in the BCS, most likely in the Fiesta Bowl vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 Champion), however, there’s an outside shot the Orange Bowl will take UConn vs. Virginia Tech (ACC Champion).

WVU awaits their bowl fate… could be the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, FL or the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, NC.

In hoops action, the Eers got robbed in Miami as the University of Miami (“The U”) defeated WVU 79-76.

Casey Mitchell scored 18 points but shot only 5 for 15. Kevin Jones had 14 points but shot 5 for 17. Truck Bryant scored 20 points. WVU went 21/24 at the free-throw line but only 7 for 22 from 3-point range.

The Mountaineers return to action in Morgantown on Tuesday, 7 December vs. Robert Morris University.