Earlier this morning, we kicked off this three part mini-series in our journey through the dark abyss of Mountaineer fandom. We’re going to continue on with a look at what transpired two weeks after that embarrassing loss to East Carolina.
Thursday, September 18, 2008. The deafening chants of “East Carolina” rained down from the fans in Folsom Field, reminding the West Virginia Mountaineers of their blowout loss to the Pirates just 12 days earlier. If the now No. 21 ranked Mountaineers wanted to right the ship and get things back on course to make a run for another BCS bowl appearance, they had perfect opportunity to do so that night against a bad Colorado Buffaloes team.
What transpired was one of the most maddening displays of coaching I’ve seen.
Things looked grim right away, as Colorado quarterback Cody Hawkins tossed two touchdown passes in the first five minutes of the game to put West Virginia in a 14-0 hole.
After hearing fans complain about their insistence on having Pat White throw the ball against East Carolina, Bill Stewart and Jeff Mullen completely abandoned the pass against the Buffaloes. The plan appeared to work early, as White and Noel Devine combined for 58 yards rushing on West Virginia’s second drive of the game to put the Mountaineers back in the game. However, it didn’t take long for Colorado to catch on and make adjustments to clamp down on the run.
On West Virginia’s ensuing five drives, White attempted only six passes - completing three of them for a grand total of five yards. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter, after connecting with Dorrell Jalloh on an 18 yard pass, that White was able to break free on a 39-yard scamper to tie the game up at 14-14.
The two teams fell back into a stalemate, trading punts on the next five drives.
In the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, with the Mountaineers driving, Bill Stewart displayed what may be the worst example of clock management I’ve ever seen. As the Mountaineers crossed over the 50-yard line, Stewart seemed to either forget that he had one timeout remaining or just refused to use it. The clock expired on a 1-yard loss by Noel Devine, and the game was forced into overtime. Pat McAfee bounced a 23-yard chip shot off the uprights in the first possession, allowing Colorado’s Aric Goodman to boot in a 25-yarder for the upset victory.
For the second straight game, fans stormed the field to celebrate knocking off the Mountaineers.