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West Virginia Football: Top Ten Plays Of 2015 Season - Number Seven

Making our way through the top ten plays that helped define the Mountaineers 2015 football season. 2015 would be the last time two rivals would play for the next few years and we saw our number seven play during the game.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
The play:

3rd and 2 at MD 41 (10:36 - 2nd) Skyler Howard pass complete to Shelton Gibson for 41 yds for a TD, (Josh Lambert KICK)

The setup:

This game marked the last time the two teams would play for the next four years until the rivalry is renewed in 2020. The winner has bragging rights for years. The Mountaineers did their part, jumping out to quick 21-0 lead in the first 20 minutes of the game. The defense was playing with a fire and was not giving Maryland a chance to catch its breath. The Mountaineers scored touchdowns on three straight possessions before Josh Lambert missed a 51-yard field goal on the fourth possession. Maryland responded by punting, again, after six plays. The Mountaineers would do well to score again and see the Terrapins in desperation mode. A score wouldn't technically mean the Terrapins were done, but it would put them well behind the 8-ball.

The Mountaineers took over on their own 20 and quickly began stacking up first downs. Rushel Shell gained 14 yards, Daikel Shorts got 17, and Devonte Mathis got in on the action with a 7-yard reception. Wendell Smallwood gained one yard putting the Mountaineers in a short 3rd and 2 situation when Skyler Howard dropped back, saw Gibson streaking by Will Likely and unleashed a perfect deep throw. Skyler had many issues with too much air on his throws in 2015 but this was an absolutely perfect rainbow. Shelton Gibson ran under the ball 4 yards ahead of William Likely and ran over an unsuspecting cheerleader to give West Virginia a 28-0 lead and a deathgrip on the game.

Why it's a top ten play:

Maryland has remained the one rivalry game for the Mountaineers during the expansion to the Big 12. With that rivalry comes the Maryland factor, which WVU fans have long used the game as a measuring stick for the season. Two games into the season, many fans felt the Mountaineers hadn't been tested yet and this game would be a better test for the team.

All week leading up to the game, the one major player Terrapin fans harped on was cornerback Will Likely. Likely is a burner for the Terps, gaining well over 1,000 yards on punt and kick returns and was the cornerback to cover Shelton Gibson, the Mountaineers deep threat. If you forgot, Likely was the player who tied the game in 2014 on a 69-yard punt return before the Mountaineers drove the field and won the game on a Josh Lambert field goal as time expired. Watching Gibson run past the speedy Likely and haul in a touchdown is the lasting image for me of the game.


Previous Entries

2015 Top Ten Plays - Number Ten

2015 Top Ten Plays - Number Nine

2015 Top Ten Plays - Number Eight