Special Game, Special Teammate

Josh Francis

In the midst of a Texas interview room filled with happy Mountaineer players and coaches, Josh Francis sat without a smile.

The West Virginia senior linebacker was certainly pleased with his team's 48-45 win over the Longhorns, but it affected him in a different manner than many of his teammates.

"I never had nothing in my life growing up, and to be able to come out with a win, it means the world to me," said Josh Francis, who choked up more than once during the interview. "It's something I will always remember. It's a special group of 11 guys in there. It's just a blessing to be out there with all of my teammates."

Francis spoke several times of the honor it was to play with his defensive mates, but they likely think the same thing abut the junior college transfer. On the evening, Francis recorded nine tackles, with three of them coming behind the line for a total of 11 yards in losses. One of those was a sack of Texas quarterback David Ash that put the 'Horns in a tough third and 13 situation late in the game, contributing to a Mountaineer stop.

While Francis and his defensive mates had some success against Texas, he realized that the team on the other side of the field had a great deal of talent as well.

"Texas is a tough football team. Going into that short field when they have all the momentum going for them, it's the greatest feeling in the world to get a stop. To take that away from them was big. When we are going against great teams, when it's a close game, it all comes down to inches. You make one read wrong, you can mess up and cost the team the game. You can step in the wrong gap, and you can mess up the game. We learned that from the Baylor game, and it helped us out. That's all you can do is learn from it, especially with a young defense. We have guys that are ready to get after it."

Francis' connection to the rest of his teammates runs deep, and he's not shy about expressing it. Without much doubt, it helped keep the defense together after the tough Baylor game, and contributed heavily when the Mountaineers faced adversity against Texas. The "sudden change" stop in the fourth quarter, when Texas took possession on WVU's 15-yard line but failed to score, was the defense's finest stand of the year to date – and could pave the way for better play over all.

"Stuff like this is all about emotion," Francis said. "I was crying out there When you make a play, it's because it is what you love and what you want to do, but it's also because of your brothers out there. You want to do it for them. When you see the smiles on those guys faces, that's the best feeling in the world."

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