WVU defense turns tide in win over UConn
College Football Videos
MORGANTOWN, W.VA. — Just when it seemed like West Virginia had no momentum, the Mountaineer defense came up big.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Jewone Snow's 80-yard fumble return turned the tide in West Virginia's 43-16 win over Connecticut Saturday afternoon at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Down 10-9, the Huskies were driving with the ball at the West Virginia 13. Quarterback Johnny McEntee dropped back as the pocket collapsed forcing him to scramble left. As he spun to pick up an extra yard, cornerback Pat Miller put his helmet on the ball, sending it straight into the air.
Snow caught it and sprinted 80 yards down the sideline to the Connecticut 12. It was the longest fumble return for West Virginia since 1993 when Mike Collins returned one for 97 yards for a touchdown against Missouri.
Two plays later, quarterback Geno Smith connected with Tavon Austin for a 12-yard touchdown to put West Virginia up 17-9.
Smith finished with another big stat day, completing 27 of 45 passes for 450 yards and four touchdowns. It's the second-highest, single-game total in West Virginia history behind Smith's own 463-yard performance two weeks ago against LSU.
After forcing a Connecticut three-and-out, Smith then hit Stedman Bailey near the sideline. Bailey made Ty-meer Brown miss and outran the defense for an 84-yard touchdown, making it 24-9 Mountaineers.
The teams traded possessions before Connecticut (2-4, 0-1) found itself pinned on its own 6-yard line. McEntee faced a heavy blitz and was sacked in the end zone by Snow and Bruce Irvin for a safety.
West Virginia (5-1, 1-0) scored three touchdowns and a safety in the third quarter. The Mountaineers have outscored their opponents, 89-23, in the third this season.
The Mountaineers got off to another slow start. After taking a 3-0 lead on a 31-yard Tyler Bitancurt field goal, Connecticut made two straight Dave Teggart field goals including a career-long 53-yard try. West Virginia's first four offensive drives ended in a field goal, turnover and then two punts.
West Virginia started at Connecticut's 45 with 5:03 left in the second quarter, after punt returner Tavon Austin was taken down by Tevrin Brandon with a horse collar tackle. Seven plays later, freshman Dustin Garrison found a hole, dodged a defender then dragged a tackler into the end zone as the Mountaineers retook the lead, 10-6.
The Mountaineers tried to add to its lead just before the end of the half, but Geno Smith's quarterback sneak on fourth down was stopped for a loss. Connecticut drove 53 yards in 55 seconds, and Teggart added a 22-yard field goal to pull the Huskies within one, 10-9, at the half.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Behind Liriano, Pirates complete sweep of Diamondbacks
- Crosby, Malkin want to remain in Pittsburgh
- Injured Penguins optimistic about returning next season
- McCain renews push to have military, not CIA, manage drone strikes
- McKees Rocks fire displaces 2 residents
- Boy, 15, charged with firing shots in Brighton Heights
- Israel thwarts terrorist attack
- Penguins notebook: Crosby to play in worlds for 1st time since 2006
- United States aided rebels in Caucasus, Russian President Putin claims
- NASA head tells Pitt grads their generation will ‘walk the face of Mars’
- Spirit Airlines lifts fortunes of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport