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WVU Football Top Ten Plays of 2016: Number 3 - Jovon Durante Edition

Jovon Durante had two special catches in 2016, so its up to you to tell me which one is our number 3 play.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Two plays. One player. One is the game winning catch against the fighting Bill Snyder’s Kansas State Wildcats. The other is an one-handed, acrobatic, twisting catch against TCU. Both are worthy of being in the top ten but only one can be, so you tell me, which one will it be?

Play One - The Game Winner Against Kansas State

This play isn’t super athletic but it does have special meaning. The Mountaineers were trending in the right direction against the Wildcats. The first game between these two as conference foes was lopsided (55-14 KSU). The second game wasn’t much closer (35-12). The 2014 squad made the game a one-score game, losing 26-20. The 2015 squad looked poised to beat the Wildcats but ultimately lost 24-23, putting a damper on an otherwise remarkable 8-win season. The trend was set though. The Mountaineers were losing by less and less.

2016 marked the time when the Mountaineers would finally get over the Wildcat hump. A game that saw the Wildcats take a 13-0 lead into halftime turned into another great come-from-behind-win for the Mountaineers.

Taking over with nearly half a quarter to play and down 6 points, Skyler Howard engineered a 9-play, 57-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a beautiful throw on the run.

The drive started as the Justin Crawford show. A 1-yard run was followed by a 21-yard run, then an incomplete pass. Ka’Raun White kept the drive going with a 13-yard reception. An incomplete pass to Gibson preceded a 2-yard run by Crawford. White again kept the drive going with a 9 yard reception on 3rd-and-8. Crawford ran the ball down to the Kansas State 7 when the game winner occured.

WVU is in a double stack look. Durante is on the far side of the field on the line of scrimmage. Gibson is behind him. Gibson runs a slant and a well placed ball maybe gets him across the line of scrimmage but it is a risky throw. Howard never looks at Gibson and starts to feel the K-State rush. He rolls to his right towards the West Virginia sideline. As he nears the sideline, the receivers to that side have cleared out the back of the endzone. With a flick of his wrist, Howard dropped a beautiful 30-yard throw over the Wildcat defender directly into the waiting arms of Durante.

Play Two - Circus Catch Against TCU

I totally forgot about this play until I began researching plays. Then I remember just how amazed I was when I first saw this happen live. Jovon Durante used one hand to tip the ball to his other hand while he jumped in front of two TCU defenders, rolled his body to avoid contact and caught the ball. It reminded me of the old NFL commercials where players did crazy stunts trying to convince you to pick them for your fantasy football team.

If Howard’s throw to Durante against Kansas State was his best throw, this one was ill-advised. There are two defenders covering Durante and he appears to be running a deep post or streak. The ball is placed low. One TCU defender is sitting down, waiting for the easy interception. The other is breaking back to the ball ready to pick it off. Durante cuts in front of both them, dives forward, tips the ball to himself and rolls away from contact.

It is a crazy amazing play. WVU would go on to win the game 34-10 as they completed a 6-0 run to start the season.

Poll

Which Durante catch should be our #3 play?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Game winner against Kansas State
    (51 votes)
  • 72%
    Circus catch against TCU
    (134 votes)
185 votes total Vote Now

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