The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

May 3, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN - Devine star of loaded backfield

MORGANTOWN —  

This was a case of where the expected became the unexpected, and therefore it became news.

The best player on the field during West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Friday night — which by the way was successful enough for WVU to try it again next year, probably on a Saturday night — was one you would expect not to play much, if at all.

His name is Noel Devine and he’s a senior with absolutely nothing to prove on a Friday night in April.

Yet there he was, slashing away as he always does, picking up yards where there were no, turning on the jets to get around a player on the outside after making a slight move to the inside.

Considering that the man expected to quarterback the team in the fall, Geno Smith, was incapacitated by a foot injury, Devine didn’t even have to smooth out the timing between himself and the new QB.

He finished the night having played the entire first half, the leading rusher with 73 yards, scoring a touchdown, looking as though he was on the verge breaking another on two or three occasions. His 19-yard run was the game’s longest and his 6.1 per carry average was exactly what you’d expect.

More important than all that, though, was the zeal with which he attacked this game, playing like a freshman trying to earn a spot on the travel squad.

"Looked to me like he was a man on a mission," West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart said. "That cat gave great, great, great effort. He was having fun, he was a leader. I thought he played really, really good and hard. That was the key, he played hard."

Indeed, Devine suddenly is emerging as the kind of personality that Avon Cobourne used to be, back when he was getting the ball over and over, putting the team on his back and asking them to follow. He has morphed from a seemingly quiet kid who, when interviewed, would draw the questioners closer and closer just to hear what he was whispering.

Text Only
WVU Sports
  • LINDLEY COLUMN: Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    Cheating has been part of college athletics probably for as long as people have bothered to keep score.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.

    July 24, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Five major sports topics of interest to area fans

    Tom Hart, a widely known retired Morgantown High School administrator and coach, continues to excel as one of the nation’s top bowlers.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.

    July 23, 2014

  • WVU, Tennessee finalize 2018 meeting

    West Virginia University and Tennessee have finalized their season-opening, Sept. 1, 2018, meeting in Charlotte, N.C., at Bank of America Stadium.
    Both teams will receive $2.5 million for the game and have a chance to earn up to $3.2 million with ticket incentives.
    Each team will buy 12,500 tickets and set aside 2,000 of its allotment for students.
    The game, played on the home field of the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, is being put on by the Charlotte Sports Federation.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Fleming, Billy.jpg WVU’s Fleming signs contract with Yankees

     Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
    “Ever since I was a little kid, it’s been my dream to play professional baseball,” Fleming said. “It is still surreal that I get to chase my dream, but I am ready to get after it. I loved my three years at WVU and want to thank all the coaches that made it possible for me to achieve my dream.”

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos