Lost in the heroics of the West Virginia University Mountaineers’ 31-17 victory over Maryland was the play of running back Noel Devine, who is somehow managing to rack up the yardage while seemingly having trouble getting unwound.
Devine ran for 131 yards on 27 carries, which was a season high in yardage and his third straight 100-yard rushing game.
That gave him 18 100-yard efforts for his career and 3,735 yards, fifth best in school history.
But there still were problems.
Normally sure-handed as a ball carrier, Devine fumbled for the third straight game as he and quarterback Geno Smith missed connections on a handoff.
Then there was a matter of having 17 of those carries go for 3 yards or fewer and seven of them go for 0 or minus yards.
Still, there was a matter of runs of 50 and 16 yards and two 10-yard carries that make him someone Maryland had to respect.
“We’re still a run-first team,” said offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen. “No. 7 (Devine) sets up all the other things we do.”
o There’s always a lot of complaining about the job Stewart is doing as coach of the Mountaineers, but the fact is after 29 games only Clarence Spears had a better record than Stewart’s 21-8. Spears was 22-4-3 for an .810 winning percentage in 1921-23.
o Here’s the kind of thing you can’t make up. On WVU’s third kickoff of the game, WVU’s kicker Corey Smith tackled Maryland’s returner Torey Smith.
o The crowd of 60,122 was the largest since Auburn played in Puskar Stadium before 60,785 fans in 2008, showing why this Maryland series needs to be played.
o WVU left guard Josh Jenkins left the game before halftime and watched the second half in street clothes after having his right knee rolled up on. Coach Bill Stewart said Jenkins had mobility in the leg and did not expect it would be a long-term problem.
Eric Jobe filled in at left guard for most of the rest of the game.
o WVU wide receiver Jock Sanders caught six passes for 86 yards, giving him 31 consecutive games with a pass caught.
He now has 156 career receptions, moving into fourth place all-time on the WVU receiving list.
It was a full day’s work for Sanders as he also had a 66-yard punt return, rushed twice for 10 yards and twice had near disaster, muffing a punt but recovering it and then on a double pass play had his throw intercepted, nearly being run back for a touchdown.
E-mail Bob Hertzel at email@example.com.