Walkon linebacker Jeff Noechel, making the first start of his Mountaineer career, turned in a memorable performance to help key the WVU victory in front of a hostile crowd.
Noechel had seven tackles, including a key third down stop for a loss of three yards to blunt a Husky drive. He also forced a fumble, broke up a fourth down pass to end another UConn drive, and capped his stellar evening by intercepting a pass to stop the Huskies final drive of the evening.
"I finally got a chance to start, and I felt like I had to come out and prove myself," the Marion County native said. "I just tried to play hard tonight, and we had a great game defensively. I've been running with the first team all week, and I've been preparing like I was going to start, but I wasn't sure until tonight."
Offensively, it was the player that Randy Edsall called "the best athlete [I] have faced" that earned our honors as the offensive player of the game.
Quarterback Rasheed Marshall, who will one day be recognized as one of the best signal callers in Mountaineer history, sparked the WVU offense with both his arm and his feet. Marshall ran for 110 yards on 18 carries (an average of 6.1 yards per attempt), and comnpleted 21 of 20 passes for 138 yards and one touchdown. Marshall would have easily been over the 200-yard mark were it not for three drops in the first half.
The senior's excellent play went beyond mere numbers, however, as he coolly changed plays, made excellent reads on the option, and generally kept the UConn defense guessing for much of the contest.
"You can sit there and try to do different things, but a guy like that, you better have a lot of speed if you want to contain him. We don't have anyone who can run him down. He is a very good player."