After 6,194 long, excruciating days, the Black Diamond Trophy has finally returned to its rightful home in Morgantown with the West Virginia Mountaineers’ 27-21 win over the No. 15 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday in front of a sold out crowd. The win also marked the Mountaineers’ first win over their bitter rivals from Blacksburg since 2003.
After forcing the Hokies to punt on their opening drive, the Mountaineers wasted no time at all in drawing first blood. After Jarret Doege overthrew a wide open Sam James on what would’ve been an 80 yard touchdown, the West Virginia opened up a huge hole for Leddie Brown to take the ball 80 yards on the ground to put the Mountianeers up 7-0 early.
West Virginia forced a three-and-out on the next Virginia Tech drive, and two plays later Doege found Bryce Ford-Wheaton for a beautiful 29-yard touchdown pass to go up 14-0.
Virginia Tech later answered with a touchdown of their own on a Tayvion Robinson touchdown reception, their only score of the first half, to close West Virginia’s lead to 14-7.
Doege connected with Sam James on a 16-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter, and Casey Legg tacked on a 21-yard field goal in the final second of the half to put West Virginia on top 24-7 heading into the locker room.
West Virginia received the ball to open the second half, and went on a 12 play, 55 yard drive that chewed up nearly seven minutes before settling for a 44-yard field goal to extend the lead to 27-7.
Two Virginia Tech drives later, on 3rd & 24 from West Virginia’s 45-yard line, Braxton Burmesiter called his own number on a QB keeper and picked up 25 yards and the first down. Raheem Blackshear followed up two plays later with a 20 yard run for Virginia Tech’s second touchdown of the day to give the Hokies a little bit of hope.
The Mountaineer offense would continue to stall out, punting on the next two drives and Virginia Tech would capitalize. The Hokies closed in on the lead with a Burmeister 29-yard strike over the middle to Jalen Holston to narrow the score to 27-21 with 3:10 remaining.
Garrett Greene took over for the Mountaineers on what probably should’ve been the final drive of the game, but a false start on 3rd & 5 backed the Mountaineers up and Doege returned to the game.
With 2:11 remaining and West Virginia staring down 3rd & 10 on their own 25-yard line, Doege threw a pass right into the hands of Jermaine Waller to give the Hokies one more chance to steal the win.
There will be plenty of discourse this week about Neal Brown’s decision to pull Greene on that drive and Doege’s decision to throw that pass, but right there in that moment it was time for the Mountaineer defense to go to work one more time.
Holston threatened by picking up chunks of yardage to give the Hokies a first down on the 3-yard line after two quick runs, but that ultimately marked the end for Virginia Tech. The West Virginia defense snuffed out the next two runs for no gain, and Jackie Matthews batted down Burmeister’s pass on fourth down to seal the win for the Mountaineers.
Jarret Doege finished the day 15-of-26 passing for 193 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Leddie Brown finished with 106 yards and one touchdown on 19 attempts, and 35 receiving yards on three receptions. Sam James led the receivers with two receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown, while Isaiah Esdale added 46 yards of his own on 4 receptions.
West Virginia is back in action next Saturday evening, when they travel to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the No. 3 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. That game will kickoff at 7:30PM ET and will be broadcast on ABC.