The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

January 17, 2012

FURFARI COLUMN: WVU’s 43-0 win at Syracuse a Nehlen Favorite

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia, ranked No. 11 at the time, smashed Syracuse 43-0 in football on Oct. 30, 1993 in upstate New York in what remains the Orange’s biggest beating in this old and at times, bitter, rivalry.

It has to be one of the most cherished victories in Hall of Famer Don Nehlen’s 21 years as the Mountaineer head coach.

Making that tremendous triumph all the more memorable is the fact that it still stands as the worst whipping the Orange has ever suffered inside the 38-year-old Carrier Dome.

Don Nehlen, then the head coach, remembers it for still another significant, probably more satisfying reason.

“That was a year after we got cheated in what they called 20-17 loss to Syracuse in Morgantown,” he recalled. “My record shows me with 202 career wins.

“I guarantee you one thing: I won 203. We won that game in 1992 three times. We were even out on the field celebrating.”

What happened was that the Syracuse quarterback hit a Mountaineer player in the head with football and that triggered a scuffle.

The officials wound up ejecting the WVU players but just one SU player, a reserve. And the quarterback responsible for the melee was permitted to stay in the game.

Big East authorities ruled later that the officiating crew didn’t deal with the situation properly. Some members of that crew reportedly were dismissed.

“Our kids remembered that when we went up there in ’93,” Nehlen said. “They never said a word on the bus going to the Carrier Dome. They hadn’t said a word at the pregame meal. In the locker room, most of the time I had to walk around and say, ‘Hey keep your mind focused.’

“I mean, there wasn’t anyone even saying much. That was a determined bunch of guys as we’ve ever had.”

After moving ahead by just 7-0 at halftime, the Mountaineers tallied 10 points in the third quarter, then exploded for 26 points in the final period.

It had to be a shocking night for the crowd of 49,268.

“I remember that with about five or six minutes left in the game, my kids wanted to score more points,” Nehlen said.

“We had pretty much emptied the bench. But the players wanted to get 50 points because they remembered the year before.”

That turned out to be the most decisive victory of the year as the 1993 team finished the regular season 11-0 for only the second time in WVU history.

It was sort of a strange contest, though.

West Virginia’s high-powered offense rolled up 657 yards in total offense, including 446 rushing, on 85 plays.

All the while, a punishing, hard-hitting defense limited Syracuse to a mere 188 yards in total offense and just 54 plays.

First downs were 35-10.

The Mountaineers were so dominating that they averaged 7.7 yards per play compared to just 3.5 ypp for the Orange .

And WVU did not punt a single time.

Tailback Robert Walker rushed 26 times for a career-high 198 yards, including a 90-yard gallop for the fourth touchdown that made the score 30-0 with 9:41 left in the game.

Walker had scored the second TD midway of the third quarter, ending a 66-yard, seven-play drive.

Quarterback Jake Kelchner had run seven yards for the first touchdown with 5:33 to go in the opening quarter. That capped an 87-yard, 15-play drive.

Surprisingly, that TD was all the scoring for the first half.

Tom Mazzone kicked a 36-yard field goal early in the third quarter before Walker’s long run set the stage for the closing spree.

Kelchner passed 21 yards to wide receiver Rahsaan Vanterpool for the third touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Darren Studstill scored on a three-yard keeper play for the fifth touchdown, and fourth-stringer Jeff Nixon got the last score on a two-yard run with 5:54 left.

Kelchner solidified his status as the NCAA passing efficiency leader. He completed 12 of 18 passes for 191 yards. Eight different Mountaineers caught passes, with Mike Baker gaining 66 yards on just four receptions.

Wes Richardson led the stingy WVU defense with nine tackles. Tim Brown and Matt Taffoni had eight tackles each.

Charles Emanuel had his first career interception. Harold Kidd came up with a fumble recovery.

If you want to call it a sugar-coated payback, Don Nehlen won’t mind.

1
Text Only
Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN: Comparing pay of coaches and professors

    Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
    • A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.

    April 17, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Blaney wins 100th Sprint Car race

    Stringing together some odds and ends that may be of interest to you:
    • Dale Blaney, the all-time great West Virginia University basketball star, has achieved another historic notch in his athletic career as a Sprint Car racer. He posted his 100th career riding in the All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series at Attica Raceway Park in Ohio last weekend.

    April 12, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- What a wonderful evening with Dr. Stanley ‘Coach’ Kandzari

    This column really is not about sports, per se. But, more importantly, it is about a widely known medical doctor whose nickname happens to be “Coach.”

    April 8, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Turnbull endured many tragedies growing up

    Coach Craig Turnbull, the latest head-coach victim of Oliver Luck’s shocking series of firings at West Virginia University, had generally enjoyed what many rate as an outstanding career not only in athletics but in life.
    Like the present, there also were some very difficult times for him as a youngster.

    April 6, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: All-time WVU great QB Bernie Galiffa dies at 63

    It was very sad to learn that Bernie Galiffa, one of the most outstanding quarterbacks in West Virginia University football history, had passed away.
    The three-year letterman for famed coach Bobby Bowden died last Thursday in Wilmington, N.C., at the age of 63.

    April 4, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Is $106 million in facilities updates really key to WVU sports success?

    You may have heard or read that West Virginia University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is planning to spend $106 million for major projects.
    According to published reports, that is to improve athletic facilities, including Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium and the WVU Coliseum (yet to be named for a rich donor).

    April 2, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Who’s next on Oliver Luck’s hatchet list?

    Who’s going to be next on Oliver Luck’s sad house-cleaning list as West Virginia University’s athletic director?
    Craig Turnbull, the outstanding head coach and builder of the Mountaineers’ wrestling program for 36 years, was notified on Friday afternoon that Luck shockingly announced that his contract will not be renewed on June 30 for next year.

    March 30, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Herbie Brooks one of Catlett’s early standouts at WVU

    Herbie Brooks, a native of Beckley, was an All-Stater at Mullens High School and demonstrated his talents at West Virginia University from 1984-89 in men’s basketball.
    The 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard performed admirably under coach Gale Catlett’s direction.

    March 29, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU women’s team certainly has been special

    There’s lingering heartbreak in the wake of last Tuesday night’s 76-67 loss to LSU that ended the West Virginia University’s women’s basketball hopes to keep alive in the NCAA Tournament.
    The Mountaineers, seeded No. 2 and ranked as high as No. 5 nationally earlier this season, battled the seventh-seeded, home-standing Tigers toe-to-toe on even terms for 35 minutes on LSU’s own Pete Maravich Assembly Center floor.

    March 28, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads