The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

October 2, 2009

Running game lifts WVU over Buffs, despite turnovers

MORGANTOWN — A fumbling, disjointed West Virginia University football team turned to Noel Devine and its running game in the second half to pull out a 35-24 victory over a stubborn Colorado team before a sellout crowd of 60,055 fans Thursday night.

The Mountaineers overcame four first-half turnovers, giving them 13 in the last three games, and a number of costly penalties and missed receivers, but none of it mattered as Devine had one of his finest games.

He electrified the crowd with his first carry, a 77-yard touchdown burst, added another 56-yard run and finished with 220 yards on 22 carries.

But it wasn’t until the Mountaineers put away the passing game and the trick plays and went to old-fashioned, grind-it-out football with a 14-play, 69-yard drive that ate up 6 minutes and 45 seconds that WVU’s dominance was emphasized.

Thirteen of the 14 plays were runs, the only pass being a near disaster on an incompletion, ending with Ryan Clarke bursting into the end zone from a yard out.

“I haven’t seen a drive like that in a long time at West Virginia,” said coach Bill Stewart.

The Mountaineers decided to go to the power running game when they were leading, 21-17, late in the third quarter.

“We told the offensive line we’re hanging our hats on you guys,” offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen said.

The line was Devine, so to speak.

If you were looking for a relaxing evening, Milan Puskar Stadium was not the place to be. A wired crowd, dressed in gold, was treated to non-stop action from the start.

Colorado took the opening kickoff and drove down the field to the WVU 23 before the drive stalled. That led them to call on Aric Goodman, a familiar face to the Mountaineers, who has had a star-crossed career in Boulder.

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