There aren't many things as satisfying as revenge and punking a rival on national television. Steve Slaton and WVU got both.
The Terrapins had dominated WVU four times from 2001 through 2003 and after a beating in the 2004 Gator Bowl many fans were wondering if the Terps simply had WVU's number. Not coincidentally, the complexion of the series changed after the graduation of Maryland quarterback Scott McBrien who transferred to Maryland from WVU in 2001. Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen placed McBrien off-limits to the media prior to each Terrapin-Mountaineer matchup leading some, including myself, to speculate that McBrien's knowledge of WVU played a role in Maryland's victories.
Upon McBrien's graduation WVU got the Maryland monkey off its back in an overtime thriller as Rasheed Marshall connected with Chris Henry for a game winning touchdown in 2004.
WVU then roughed up the Terps in 2005 for back-to-back wins. The series was trending in WVU's direction when the teams met in 2006. Coming off the Sugar Bowl victory expectations were sky high in Morgantown, and anticipation for the measuring stick game was at a fever pitch. Adding subplot to the storyline, word was Steve Slaton was looking for revenge against Coach Friedgen and Maryland after the Terps pulled Slaton's scholarship offer prior to Slaton's commitment to the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers wasted no time on this night as a packed Mountaineer Field bore witness to the kind of mugging usually reserved for big city back alleys. Slaton ripped off two huge highlight reel touchdown runs of 37 and 38 yards respectively.
Following the second score ESPN let the world what was motivating Slaton:
WVU scored an incredible 28 points in its first 21 plays to jump to a commanding 28-0 lead in the first quarter (the first quarter!) and when Darius Reynaud scored his second touchdown of the game right before the end of the first half to put the Mountaineers up 38-10 the damage was done and the victory was in hand.
All in all Slaton ran for 149 in the first quarter alone and 194 yards for the game as the Mountaineers rolled to victory with a final score of 45-24. As for the Terrapins, they would have to wait a long nine years in between victories over the Mountaineers.