We’re going to breeze through a three part mini-series today as we continue on our journey through some of the lowest points in Mountaineer fandom. We’ve already brushed over two of our our first two topics in this mini-series in our look at Tajh Boyd and Logan Heastie, so we’re just going to jump straight into the games.
Hot off a 48-21 win over the Villanova Wildcats, the No. 8 West Virginia Mountaineers traveled to Greenville, North Carolina to do what the No. 17 Virginia Tech Hokies couldn’t do in Charlotte the previous week - beat the East Carolina Pirates.
In my opinion, the game was over before it even began when ESPN aired a video from World Wrestling Entertainment chairman and East Carolina alumnus Vince McMahon.
I think anyone familiar with professional wrestling will agree that what Vince wants, Vince gets - and on that September afternoon, Vince McMahon called for his Pirates to lay the smackdown on the Mountaineers.
And that’s exactly what happened.
East Carolina went to work right away after receiving the opening kickoff, and put together a six minute drive that nearly stalled at West Virginia’s 42 yard line before quarterback Patrick Pinkney converted on 3rd & 9 with a 35 yard pass to Jamar Bryant. Two plays later, Jonathan Williams carried it in from five yards out, and the rout was on.
West Virginia’s first drive ended on a Pat White fumble, and I believe - from what I can remember - at this point you could already feel the upset in the air. West Virginia’s offense couldn’t get anything going and was forced to punt after a three and out on their next drive.
East Carolina added a field goal to start the second quarter and go up 10-0. The Mountaineers looked to have a pulse on the following drive, as Noel Devine ripped off a 34 yard run to put West Virginia in the red zone. However, in typical West Virginia fashion, Pat White was immediately sacked for a loss of seven yards. White attempted to get those yards back on a keeper on 3rd & 18, but came up just short. Pat McAfee would come on and knock in a 26-yard field goal to give West Virginia what would be their only points in the game.
With just over a minute left in the first half, ECU put the game on ice after recovering a Jock Sanders fumble. It took Pinkney just two passes to find the endzone, putting the Pirates up 17-3 over a dejected Mountaineer team.
ECU’s Williams added his second touchdown early in the 3rd quarter to finish West Virginia off for good. Jeff Mullen’s offense struggled through the entire second half, leading to the Mountaineers punting on four out of their six drives.
East Carolina students rushed the field as the clock hit zero, and I imagine Vince McMahon leaned back in his chair in Stamford, Connecticut and let out the most evil laugh the world has ever heard.
Two games into his reign, and the clock had already began ticking on the Bill Stewart experience.