2008 West Virginia Mountaineers Season
West Virginia QB Pat White
West Virginia QB Pat White
Posted Feb 4, 2009

2008 West Virginia Mountaineers Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 West Virginia Mountaineers

Dec. 27
2008 Meineke Care Care Bowl
West Virginia 31 … North Carolina 30

Pat White became the first starting quarterback to win four bowl games as he battled for his first 300-yard passing game of his career. He connected on three touchdown passes with a 44-yard strike to Alric Arnett and a 35-yard pass to Bradley Starks in a wild first quarter, and he threw a laser beam to Arnett for a 20-yard score to give the Mountaineers the lead midway through the fourth. White had to be amazing to overcome a huge day from UNC WR Hakeem Nicks, who caught three touchdown passes with a deflected pass that went for a 73-yard first quarter touchdown, a 66-yard scoring play, and a 25-yard touchdown catch. But the West Virginia defense stiffened as the Tar Heels only managed a four-yard T.J. Yates touchdown run to take the lead in the third. An interception from Pat Lazear stopped UNC's final drive.
Player of the game: West Virginia QB Pat White completed 26-of-32 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, and in a losing cause, North Carolina WR Hakeem Nicks caught eight passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: North Carolina - Passing: T.J. Yates, 15-25, 211 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Shaun Draughn, 17-65. Receiving: Hakeem Nicks, 8-217, 3 TD
West Virginia - Passing: Pat White, 26-32, 332 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Noel Devine, 13-61, 1 TD. Receiving: Alrick Arnett, 7-93, 2 TD
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Meineke Car Care Bowl …North Carolina's Quan Sturdivant led all tacklers with 11. … Third down conversions: WMU 12-of-19 – UNC 5-of-11. … Offensive plays: WVU 74 – UNC 55. … Sacks: UNC 4 – WVU 1. … Total yards: WVU 455 – UNC 370.

- 2008 WVU Preview
- 2007 WVU Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 9-

Aug. 30 Villanova W 48-21
Sept. 6 at East Carolina L 24-3
Sept. 13 OPEN DATE
Sept. 18 at Colorado L 17-14 OT
Sept. 27 Marshall W 27-3
Oct. 4 Rutgers W 24-17
Oct. 11 Syracuse W 17-6
Oct. 23 Auburn W 34-17
Nov. 1 at Connecticut W 35-13
Nov. 8 Cincinnati L 26-23 OT
Nov. 22 at Louisville W 35-21
Nov. 28 at Pitt L 19-15
Dec. 6 South Florida W 13-7
Meineke Car Care Bowl
Dec. 27 North Carolina W 31-30

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record: 10-

Sept. 1 Western Mich W 62-24
Sept. 8 at Marshall W 48-23
Sept. 13 at Maryland W 31-14
Sept. 22 East Carolina W 48-7
Sept. 28 at South Florida L 21-13
Oct. 6 at Syracuse W 55-14
Oct. 20 Mississippi St W 38-13
Oct. 27 at Rutgers W 31-3
Nov. 8
Louisville W 38-31
Nov. 17 at Cincinnati W 28-23
Nov. 24 Connecticut W 66-21
Dec. 1 Pitt L 13-9
Fiesta Bowl
Jan. 2 Oklahoma W 48-28

Nov. 28
Pitt 19 … West Virginia 15
LeSean McCoy ran for a one-yard score with 52 seconds to play to cap a fourth quarter rally to win the Backyard Brawl and send Cincinnati to the BCS. McCoy's five-yard touchdown run following an interception from Jovani Chappel that put the ball on the WVU 16. The Mountaineers got three Pat McAfee field goals and a brilliant reverse-field 54-yard touchdown dash from Pat White, but couldn't get back on the board in the final 11 minutes. Pitt started the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown catch from Derek Kinder.
Player of the game: Pitt RB LeSean McCoy ran 33 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns, and caught two passes for 17 yards
Stat Leaders: Pitt - Passing: Bill Stull, 12-23, 156 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: LeSean McCoy, 33-183, 2 TD. Receiving: Nate Byham, 4-69
West Virginia - Passing: Pat White, 15-28, 143 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Pat White 12-93, 1 TD. Receiving: Bradley Starks, 4-38
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Pat White tried to carry the Mountaineers against Pitt, but he could've used a little help from someone, anyone. Noel Devine was held to 17 yards on 12 carries and there wasn't much of a passing game to count on. The defense came up with a nice day, even with all the yards cranked out by LeSean McCoy, but it couldn't come up with a key stop in the final eight minutes. Now it's pecking order time as Mountaineers try to finish in the top three in the conference with South Florida to close things out.

Nov. 22
West Virginia 35 … Louisville 21
Pat White set the D-I record for the most career rushing yards by a quarterback (4,292) by tearing off 200 yards and three scores with touchdown runs from 66, 43 and seven yards away. Louisville scored first on a one-yard Bilal Powell touchdown run, but West Virginia ripped off 21 straight points and coasted over the final 18 minutes after White's third scoring run. He also threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jock Sanders. The Mountaineers finished with 376 rushing yards.
Player of the game: West Virginia QB Pat White ran 21 times for 200 yards and three touchdowns, and he completed 6-of-11 passes for 122 yards and two scores.
Stat Leaders: Louisville - Passing: Hunter Cantwell, 27-47, 276 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Bilal Powell, 13-77, 1 TD. Receiving: Doug  Beaumont, 8-84
West Virginia - Passing: Pat White, 6-11, 122 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Pat White, 21-200, 3 TD. Receiving: Bradley Starks, 3-17
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Can Pat White get a lifetime achievement Heisman? He's not going to be a finalist this year, but if the vote was taken after the bowls last season, he might've won it. He's one of the great players in the history of the game, proven by his record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in his career, and he's also been a tremendous leader and gamer. Help is needed to win the Big East title, Cincinnati has to lose to Syracuse and WVU has to win out against Pitt and South Florida, and while that might not happen (the Bearcats won't lose to the Orange), a 10-win season is possible. No matter what, that's a successful season.

Nov. 8
Cincinnati 26 … West Virginia 23 OT
Tony Pike found Kazeem Alli for a two-yard touchdown in overtime to give Cincinnati a tough, thrilling win. West Virginia got 13 points in the final 1:11 of regulation with a safety, a Dorell Jalloh touchdown catch with 19 seconds to play, and after recovering the onside kick, a 52-yard field goal from Pat McAfee to force overtime. McAfee hit a 27-yard field goal in OT before the Bearcats answered. Cincinnati started off the scoring with Marshwan Gilyard taking the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Jake Rogers added two field goals, and Pike ran for a four-yard score for a 20-7 halftime lead, but the Bearcat offense died in the second half. The two teams combined to convert just six of 33 third down chances.
Player of the game: Cincinnati QB Tony Pike completed 16-of-30 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown, and he ran for a score.
Stat Leaders: West Virginia - Passing: Pat White, 20-38, 219 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Noel Devine, 19-58. Receiving: Dorrell Jalloh, 4-54, 1 TD
Cincinnati - Passing: Tony Pike, 16-30, 178 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Jacob Ramsey, 18-83. Receiving: Dominick Goodman, 6-81
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Yeah, West Virginia lost, but that really was a fantastic kick by Pat McAfee to force overtime. The team isn't doing the little things right. The kickoff coverage has been abysmal, and the running game isn't getting the blocking it needs to make big things happen. Pat White has been fine, but if he has to throw the ball in comeback mode, the offense isn't working. Before, the score didn't matter. West Virginia could come back with the running game easier than it could through the air. With a week off to sit and stew, the Mountaineers need to come back roaring with road trips against Louisville and Pitt coming up before the South Florida showdown. The Big East title is still out there to be won.

Nov. 1
West Virginia 35 … Connecticut 13
Connecticut took a 10-0 lead with a 21-yard Donald Brown run and a 36-yard Dave Teggart field goal, and then it was all Pat White, and it was all Jock Sanders, and it was all the West Virginia defense. The Mountaineers forced five turnovers, and the offense took advantage with Sanders scoring three times from a 5:12 span in the third quarter catching a six-yard touchdown pass and running in two three-yard scores. White capped off the 28-point run with a 36-yard touchdown dash late in the fourth.
Player of the game: West Virginia QB Pat White completed 11-of-18 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown and he ran 21 times for 109 yards and two scores.
Stat Leaders: Connecticut - Passing: Cody Endres, 17-27, 166 yds, 3 INT
Rushing: Donald Brown, 19-82, 1 TD. Receiving: Anthony Sherman, 7-51
West Virginia - Passing: Pat White, 11-18, 121 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Pat White, 21-109, 2 TD. Receiving: Dorrell Jalloh, 5-73
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It's almost as if the team figured out that it's still really good after the win over Auburn. Yeah, the Tigers might stink, and really, that win wasn't that big a deal, but it might have been the confidence boost needed to roll through the rest of the Big East schedule. Against Connecticut, Pat White was Pat White again, and the team did the thing it used to do under Rich Rodriguez and made the key adjustments at halftime and then let the running game wear down the D. There aren't any breaks over the final four games, but if the team plays like it did against the Huskies, there shouldn't be many problems to get back to yet another BCS game.

Oct. 23
West Virginia 34 ... Auburn 17
In a tale of two halves, West Virginia outscored Auburn 24-0, and finished with 31 unanswered points, as Dorrell Jalloh scored from two and 32 yards out, and Noel Devine capped off a brilliant night with a 30-yard touchdown dash. Auburn got up early helped by a 16-yard Brad Lester touchdown catch and a nine-yard Kodi Burns run, but the offense sputtered in the second half and the Mountaineers took advantage. The scoring run started late in the first half on a 44-yard Alric Arnett touchdown catch for the first of three Pat White touchdowns.
Player of the game: West Virginia RB Noel Devine ran 17 times for 207 yards and a touchdown, and he caught a pass for 13 yards
Stat Leaders: Auburn - Passing: Kodi Burns, 13-21, 111 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Kodi Burns, 15-90, 1 TD. Receiving: Tommy Trott, 4-34
West Virginia - Passing: Pat White, 13-21, 174 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Noel Devine, 17-207, 1 TD. Receiving: Dorrell Jalloh 4-53, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... And now the Bill Stewart era really begins. Yeah, the Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma was big, but that was with Rich Rodriguez's team. Granted, this is also RichRod's team, but at this point in the year, Stewart needed to show something by after the early season losses to East Carolina and Colorado. Beating Marshall, Rutgers and Syracuse was no big deal. Beating Auburn is a big deal. This was the West Virginia everyone is used to, and now this needs to be the spark for the second half of the season with the Big East schedule kicking in full force.

Oct. 11
West Virginia 17 … Syracuse 6
Pat White was out with a head injury, and Noel Devine took over. The Mountaineer back ran for 188 yards with a 92-yard touchdown with just over four minutes to play to finally put the Orange away. The Mountaineer offense sputtered with Jarrett Brown throwing for just 52 yards, but the defense allowed just two Patrick Shadle field goals. Brown put the Mountaineers up for good in the second quarter on a 12-yard pass to Jock Sanders. .
Player of the game: West Virginia RB Noel Devine ran 18 times for 188 yards and a touchdown, and caught six passes for six yards
Stat Leaders: Syracuse - Passing: Cameron Dantley, 24-40, 204 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Curtis Brinkley, 28-144. Receiving: Donte Davis, 7-62
West Virginia - Passing: Jarrett Brown, 14-20, 52 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Noel Devine, 18-188, 1 TD. Receiving: Noel Devine, 6-6
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Fine, so West Virginia isn't blowing anyone's doors off, but it's on a three-game winning streak and is 2-0 in the Big East going into a very winnable looking game against Auburn in two weeks. The hope is for Pat White to be healthy by then. Jarrett Brown is a talent, but he's just not providing the spark the offense needs. Noel Devine made up for it with his big run in the end, and the defense did a great job, but the offense only gained 172 yards outside of Devine's clinching scoring dash.

Oct. 4
West Virginia 24 … Rutgers 17
West Virginia got two touchdown passes from Pat White, a 25-yarder in the first quarter to Tyler Urban and a 14-yarder to Jock Sanders in the second, but he got knocked out of the game in the third quarter. Jarrett Brown came in and ran for a one-yard score to put the Mountaineers up 24-10, but Rutgers fought back. Mike Teel ran for a touchdown and threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tim Brown, but the final drive was halted with a broken up fourth down pass. Kenny Britt caught 12 passes for 151 yards for the Scarlet Knights, while all-star safety Courtney Greene made 13 tackles.
Player of the game: West Virginia QB Pat White completed 12-of-17 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns, and ran 11 times for 59 yards in three quarters of play.
Stat Leaders: Rutgers - Passing: Mike Teel, 14-32, 170 yds, 1 TD
Jourdan Brooks, 17-58. Receiving: Kenny Britt, 12-151
West Virginia
- Passing: Pat White, 12-17, 137 yds, 2 TD
Pat White, 11-59. Receiving: Jock Sanders, 4-47, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... West Virginia won the battle against Rutgers, but it was extremely costly. Pat White is getting whacked around, missing the fourth quarter after getting knocked in the head. The team will also be without star LB Reed Williams, who plays in two games this year but will be out for the rest of the year with shoulder problems. Jarrett Brown is going to get more and more work despite White's status; he needs to. The defense did a good job of holding on against the Scarlet Knights, but it helped that the RU passing game kept making mistakes.

Sept. 27
West Virginia 27 … Marshall 3
West Virginia had few problems disposing of its in-state rival as Noel Devine ran for a four-yard score and Pat White threw two touchdown passes hitting Dorrell Jalloh from 21 yards out and Jock Sanders from five yards away. However, White left the game with a thumb/hand injury and didn't return. Pat McAfee hit two field goals and the Mountaineer defense did the rest. The Herd only managed a 34-yard Tyler Warner field goal and 158 yards of total offense.
Player of the game: West Virginia QB Pat White went 17-of-21 for 130 yards and two touchdown passes, running 11 times for 61 yards.
Stat Leaders: Marshall
- Passing: Mark Cann, 15-36, 119 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Darius Marshall, 16-45. Receiving: Darius Passmore, 4-39
West Virginia
- Passing: Pat White, 17-21, 130 yds, 2 TDs
Rushing: Noel Devine, 14-125, 1 TD. Receiving: Jock Sanders, 8-60, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The Mountaineers came up with a nice bounceback performance after two straight losses. The defense stuffed Marshall and never let it be a game, while the offense did enough to keep the game well out of reach. The ground game finally started to work with 319 yards on the ground, and although Pat White left with an injured hand, Jarrett Brown proved he was more than capable of moving the offense. Brown might be able to run, but he's not the passer that White, who completed 17-of-21 passes, is. If the defense plays against Rutgers and Syracuse like it did against Marshall, WVU will be 4-2 before dealing with Auburn.

Sept. 18
Colorado 17 ... West Virginia 14 OT
West Virginia's Pat McAfee's field goal attempt in overtime bonked off the upright, and Colorado's Aric Goodman nailed his 25-yard field attempt for the win, and a scholarship, awarded to the walk-on after the game. It marked the end of a strange game for the Mountaineers, who came back after a 14-0 deficit with a six-yard Pat White touchdown run in the first quarter and a 39-yard White dash in the third, but a badly mismanaged final drive killed a chance to get into field goal range at the end of regulation. Colorado started out hot with Cody Hawkins touchdown passes from 38 yards out to Josh Smith on the first drive of the game and from 13 yards away to Patrick Devenney just two minutes later. WVU ran for 311 yards, but was held to 43 passing yards.
Player of the game: Colorado RB Rodney Stewart ran 28 times for 166 yards
Stat Leaders: West Virginia -
Passing: Pat White, 10-14, 43 yds
Rushing: Pat White, 19-148, 2 TD. Receiving: Noel Devine, 3-11
Colorado - Passing: Cody Hawkins, 22-33, 179 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Rodney Stewart, 28-166. Receiving: Josh Smith, 5-75, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Bill Stewart is going through some growing pains. From the clock problems at the end of regulation, to the failure to adjust the offense on the fly to generate anything more than Pat White and Noel Devine running the ball, this wasn't a good answer for the East Carolina loss. The defense was fantastic after the first five minutes and yeah, the running game did work. However, the team needs to mix up the offense a little more and has to do more to crank out long drives. Remember, it's all about the Big East race. Things have to be tighter by the time the Rutgers game hits in early October.

Sept. 6
East Carolina 24 ... West Virginia 3
East Carolina thoroughly dominated West Virginia holding the Mountaineers to 179 rushing yards and just three points. The Pirates held on to the ball for 35:41 and was never threatened after a five-yard Jon Williams touchdown run in the first and a 42-yard Ben Ryan field goal in the second. The Mountaineers managed a 26-yard Pat McAfee field goal late in the first half, but the Pirate defense took over and the offense came through with a 13-yard Alex Taylor touchdown catch and a one-yard Jon Williams run.
Player of the game: East Carolina QB Patrick Pinkney completed 22-of-28 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: West Virginia -
Passing: Pat White, 11-18, 72 yds
Rushing: Pat White, 20-97. Receiving: Jock Sanders, 3-20
East Carolina - Passing: Patrick Pinkney, 22-28, 236 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Jon Williams 17-69, 2 TD. Receiving: Dwayne Harris, 8-68

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... With a week off to sit and stew about the disastrous performance against East Carolina, the Mountaineers have to focus on improving to win the very mediocre Big East title. The national title might be gone, but if the running game can get back going, and that means Pat White will need to get more help, the Mountaineers should be able to win the next four games (at Colorado, Marshall, Rutgers, Syracuse) without a problem before facing Auburn. However, the lines have to be far better. East Carolina dominated up front on both sides.

Aug. 30
West Virginia 48 ... Villanova 21
The Mountaineers worked on the passing game against Villanova with great success as Pat White threw five touchdown passes with two to Alric Arnett and two to Jock Sanders. The Wildcats hung around in the first half on a three-yard Antwon Young touchdown run, but White went back at it leading the Mountaineers to 20 straight points to put it away. The defense got in the act late with a 29-yard interception return for a score from Mortty Ivy.
Player of the game: West Virginia QB Pat White went 25-of-33 for 208 yards, five touchdowns and an interception, while leading the team with 63 rushing yards on nine carries.
Stat Leaders: Villanova - Passing: Antwon Young, 17-33, 218 yds, 2 INTs
Rushing: Aaron Ball, 15-55, 1 TD. Receiving: Brandyn Harvey, 5-85
West Virginia - Passing: Pat White, 25-33, 208 yds, 5 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: Pat White, 9-63. Receiving: Jock Sanders, 8-62, 2 TDs
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... If the Mountaineers are going to be less explosive now that Bill Stewart is the head coach, it certainly wasn't evident in the opener with Villanova. If anything, the attack will be more balanced. With a greater emphasis on the pass, West Virginia shook off a slow start to pull away for an easy win, but that's nothing new. That's what the team did throughout last year. Pat White was the star, throwing a career-high five touchdown passes and leading the team in rushing, but the defense also made a bunch of big plays. Everyone got in the act, as the ‘eers delivered seven sacks and got an interception for a score from LB Mortty Ivy.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Josh Jenkins OL 6-5 305 Parkersburg, W.Va./Parkersburg HS

The t
op recruit in the state of West Virginia … first West Virginia player to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas … graded out at 98 percent for his senior season … collected 158 pancake blocks … finished with 113 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, seven sacks and four fumble recoveries … USA Today first-team All-American … Parade Magazine All-American team … a three time AAA first-team all-state selection … three-time all-MSAC Conference honoree … helped lead the Big Reds to a 13-1 record and the AAA state championship in back-to-back seasons … runs a 5.2/40-yard dash and bench presses 400 pounds … also plays basketball.

Potential Instant Impact Players

Tevita Finau DL 6-5 290 Phoenix, Ariz./Phoenix College
Coached by former Mountaineer standout Dale Wolfley at Phoenix College … 2007 second-team NJCAA All-American … collected 90 tackles, including 58 solo tackles, nine sacks, 20 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and six pass breakups … runs a 4.7/40-yard dash and benches 365 pounds … coached by Suaki Livai at Kahuku High School … helped guide the Red Raiders to the 2004 Hawaii state championship … also participated in basketball … three-year first-team all-state honoree

D.J. Shaw DL 6-1 290 Bude, Miss./Copiah-Lincoln CC
Registered 56 total tackles, including 34 solo stops, three sacks, seven tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and 15 quarterback hits … selected honorable mention all-state … collected 23 tackles as a freshman, including 13 unassisted tackles and a sack … helped lead Co-Lin to a 9-3 record, the South Division Championship and a runner-up finish in the state championship game … Co-Lin won the Sea Island Company Golden Isles Bowl Championship … prepped at Franklin County High School in Meadville, Miss. … used as a fullback in high school … ran 113 times for 558 yards and seven touchdowns … helped lead Franklin County to a 6-4 record and the first round of the state playoffs … named all-division 7-3A and one of the Clarion Ledger's Top 125 prospects in the state … runs a 5.0/40-yard dash, benches 425 pounds and squats 650 pounds.

Rest of the Class
John Bassler OL 6-5 285 New Windsor, Md./Francis Scott Key HS
Tyler Bitancurt K 6-0 180 Springfield, Va./West Springfield HS
Jeffrey Braun DL 6-5 315 Westminster, Md./Winters Mills HS
Brantwon Bowser CB 6-0 180 Phoenix, Ariz./Phoenix College
Ryan Clarke FB 6-1 235 Glen Burnie, Md./DeMatha Catholic HS
J.J. Dorsey CB 6-0 180 Winchester, Va./Handley HS
Larry Ford DE 6-5 240 Georgetown, S.C./Coffeyville CC
Corey Freeman DL 6-3 220 Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Hght. HS
Joseph Madsen OL 6-4 270 Chardon, Ohio/Chardon HS
Donovan Miles LB 6-2 225 Stafford, Va./Brooke Point HS
Ja'tavious Miller LB 6-0 208 Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee HS
Chris Palmer DL 6-4 290 Philadelphia, Pa./St. John Neumann HS
Robert Sands S 6-6 205 Miami, Fla./Miami Carol City Senior HS
Bernard Smith DL 6-2 220 Atlanta, Ga./Benjamin E. Mays HS
Courtney Stuart S 6-3 220 Chandler, Ariz./Phoenix College
Jerome Swinton CB 5-9 160 Daytona Beach, Fla./Seabreeze Senior HS
Tyler Urban TE 6-4 240 North Huntingdon, Pa./Norwin Senior HS
Coley White QB 6-1 175 Daphne, Ala./Daphne HS
J.D. Woods WR 6-2 180 Naples, Fla./Golden Gate HS
Jorge Wright DL 6-3 260 Miami, Fla./Dr. Krop HS

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: Everyone appears to be excited about Bill Stewart and his ability to keep the momentum going after a huge Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma. The proof will come in the recruiting and if he can build on what Rich Rodriguez created, but for now, there's no reason to shoot for anything less than another Big East title with QB Pat White working behind a tremendous O line with all five starters returning.
Why to be grouchy: The Mountaineers did a fantastic job of rebuilding and retooling last year after losing a ton on both sides. this is different. Can Stewart get the job done no that he's expected to succeed? White is a tremendous playmaker, and Noel Devine will take on an expanded role, but losing RB Steve Slaton and WR Darius Reynaud will be painful. The defense has to replace seven starters and four All-Big East performers (NT Keilen Dykes, DE Johnny Dingle, LB Marc Magro and SS Eric Wicks). 
The number one thing to work on is: Getting Stewart firmly entrenched into his new role. He was auditioning in the Fiesta Bowl preparation. Now that the gig is his, he has to show that he can get the job done. At this point, there's no grace period with the expectations at a BCS level; anything less will be considered a disappointment. On the field, the passing game was efficient, and now with White under the helm for yet another year, there should be around 200 yards per game through the air to go along with the phenomenal ground attack.
Biggest offensive loss: RB Steve Slaton
Biggest defensive loss: NT Keilen Dykes
Best returning offensive player: QB Pat White, Sr.
Best returning defensive player: LB Reed Williams, Sr.

2007 Recap
Recap: In the 33 days between Dec. 1 and Jan.2, the West Virginia program aged about 33 years.  During that brief time span, the Mountaineers bumbled a chance to play for a national title, lost head coach Rich Rodriguez, sued Rodriguez to collect a $4 million buyout, shocked Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, and hired an assistant that no one expected to succeed Coach Rod.  Exhale.  Oh yeah, West Virginia got to Glendale by winning the Big East title for the second time in three years, despite dropping a couple of games in league play.    

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Pat White

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Johnny Dingle

Biggest Surprise: The defense.  A disappointment in 2006, defensive coordinator did a magnificent job with this group, molding a more athletic unit that led the league in scoring and rushing defense, and collected a ton of turnovers and plays for minus yardage.

Biggest Disappointment: In what was likely the most deflating loss in school history, West Virginia inexcusably lost to Pittsburgh, a four-touchdown underdog, with a spot in the BCS Championship game hanging in the balance.  White sat out most of the game with an injured hand, but no one was making excuses after the Mountaineers fell to their bitter rival, 13-9, in the regular season finale.

Looking Ahead:
If new head coach and life-long assistant Bill Stewart is going to be exposed, it might not happen until 2009.  Even with Steve Slaton and Darius Reynaud gone, with White back for one final year in Morgantown, West Virginia will be favored to win the Big East and be right back in a BCS bowl game next January.


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