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WVU kicker McAfee gets death threats

| Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007

Coach Rich Rodriguez declined to criticize West Virginia fans or address the issue after it was revealed Wednesday that his Pittsburgh-area kicker, Pat McAfee of Plum, had his car vandalized and received death threats following Pitt's Backyard Brawl upset.

McAfee misfired on a pair of first-half field goals Saturday night in the Panthers' 13-9 victory at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.

The defeat cost the Mountaineers a chance to play in the BCS Championship Game on Jan 7 in New Orleans.

The verbal abuse and vandalism against McAfee had already tapered off when his father, Tim, spoke out yesterday on West Virginia MetroNews Talkline.

He told the state-wide radio network that in addition to vehicle damage, his son had been threatened online, and via text and phone messages. He said fans gathered outside his son's off-campus residence following the game to voice their frustration.

"He was more distraught than anyone I know after the game," McAfee's father told MetroNews.

West Virginia spokesman Mike Montoro said yesterday that both Rodriguez and Pat McAfee declined comment on the post-game incidents.

Several hours after Rodriguez was asked to comment on McAfee, the coach issued a statement when quarterback Pat White was named Big East Player of the Year, stating White is "deserving of any honor that comes his way" after scoring 26 touchdowns this season.

McAfee scored 91 points this season, and has sent 11 of 15 field goal attempts through the uprights. He is 39 for 55 in career field-goal shots, while also handling the kickoff and punting duties.

It's likely the No. 11 Mountaineers (10-2) will need McAfee's services again when they meet No. 3 Oklahoma (11-2) in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

McAfee was named the Big East's special teams player of the week three times this season, but he missed from 20 and 32 yards out against Pitt.

Pitt kicker Conor Lee also missed from 35 yards out, but converted from 48 and 18 yards.

If Rodriguez already was aware of threats against McAfee, he did not speak out about it during his weekly press conference Monday in Morgantown.

"He doesn't hardly miss one in practice," Rodriguez said in regard to McAfee's consistency.

Rodriguez never spoke the word "Pitt," or mentioned any Panthers coach or player specifically, during the 26-minute press conference, even after he was asked about running back LeSean McCoy. McCoy ran for 148 yards against WVU's defense.

"Well, he got his yards, and he got a lot of carries," Rodriguez said.

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