Redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Brown vowed during the week that he'd be ready to go if starting quarterback Patrick White's injured ankle was too tender for play. Moments before kickoff, Brown was thrust into the first start of his college career in front of 60,299 fans at Mountaineer Field, as well as a national television audience watching on ESPN.
Brown responded like a seasoned veteran, and calmly led the Mountaineers to their tenth win of the regular season using his rocket right arm, and fleet feet. More importantly, Brown made big plays when his team needed him the most. Whether it was his 40-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, or his beautiful arching pass into the arms of Brandon Myles for a touchdown in the third overtime, Brown made the plays that won the game on Saturday night.
Through the air, Jarrett was 14-29 for 244 yards, with one interception and one touchdown. On the ground, he carried the ball 17 times for 73 yards and a score.
Defensively, the best performer for West Virginia on Saturay night didn't even record a tackle. A few weeks back, punter/kicker Pat McAfee noted that, while he was pleased with his punting, he couldn't wait to "really get into one" on the rugby kick.
Against the Scarlet Knights, McAfee definitely "got into one" with his 75-yard rocket in the first quarter. The punt was the sixth longest in school history, and tied Mark Fazzolari's 75-yard bomb against Virginia Tech in 1999 for the longest in Mountaineer Field history. For the game, the bleached one averaged 52.7 yards per punt. Needless to say, field position was never an issue for West Virginia's defense thanks to McAfee. And, just for good measure, he also added a career-high four field goals in the win.
The first game ball has to go to Myles. Playing his final game at Mountaineer Field, the Goochland, Va. native made several clutch catches to help his team's cause. None was bigger than his final catch at Mountaineer Field, the 22-yard touchdown reception from Brown in the third overtime. Brandon finished the game with four catches for 62 yards and the touchdown.
The second game ball goes to Brandon's fellow receiver, sophomore Dorrell Jalloh. The Greensboro, N.C. native set new career-highs for catches (four) and receiving yards (92). He just missed getting into the end zone at the end of his 48-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter. Jalloh did find paydirt, though, in the third overtime when he ran a simple slant pattern to the middle of the end zone to catch what was ultimately the game-winning pass from Brown.
Finally, it wouldn't be a Mountaineer game without mentioning Steve Slaton. Tonight, though, Slaton had a "quiet" 112 yards on 23 carries, with two touchdowns. Although he was the focal point of the Rutgers defense, Slaton still churned out the tough yards, which took pressure off of the rookie quarterback.