Saturday, August 8, 2009

A WVU Football Memory

So I'm sitting here on a Saturday night pining for the start of football season. Tomorrow brings us the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio that marks the start of the NFL's preseason. Six months of professional and college football are just around the corner! I thought it would never get here.

Because the NFL preseason just isn't enough, over the next month or so I'm going to bring you some of the most memorable football moments I've experienced during the last 25 years or so. As the start of football season gets closer and closer, time moves slower and slower. Perhaps this will speed things up. If it doesn't work for you, maybe it will work for me. :)


It was October of 1994 and WVU was following up their 1993 undefeated regular season with a dismal 2-4 start. The seventh game of the season was at Pitt and nobody knew what to expect. Pitt was having a difficult season as well. However, when these two teams get together, throw out the record books. It gets crazy.

WVU raced to a huge lead. It was something like 32-10. It was an absolute blast. I remember being giddy and celebrating over and over with each WVU touchdown scored. Nothing could go wrong. And then something happened. WVU collapsed in the 4th quarter. Pitt came back to take the lead 41-40 with about 35 seconds left. I was devastated. How could they have let that huge lead slip away?!?!?

WVU received the Pitt kickoff and returned the ball to their own 30 yard line. WVU's quarterback Chad Johnston ran for a ten yard game on the first play of the drive. And then this happened:

Chad Johnston connected with Zach Abraham for the game winning 60 yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left. I lost it. I happened to be watching this game at my grandmother's house with my aunt and my two-year-old cousin. I erupted with a scream and nearly scared my little cousin out of her wits. I remember running outside to tell my grandfather, who was mowing his lawn, what had happened. It was the first time I'd acted like a completely nutty sports fan.

WVU won the game 47-41. They won four of the next five games and finished with a 7-5 regular season record. They received a bid to the Carquest Bowl where they lost to the University of South Carolina. I remember Don Nehlen (former WVU Head Football Coach for those of you unfamiliar) pointing to this play as the moment that turned the season around.

In the overall scheme of things this play really didn't mean much. It was during a forgettable season with losses to Rutgers, Maryland and Virginia Tech, but this moment is one of my all-time favorites. It taught me a little bit about being a WVU fan... there's no safe lead and it's not over until there's zeros on the clock.



  1. Welp, L.C. - I was wondering how you could remember the details of a college football game so long ago. The description you provided supported the video and the rememberance so well. It's a wonder all football coaches aren't are eaten up with ulcers.

    I watched the NFL H.O.F. inductions in entirety last night. I was interested in the induction of Derek Thomas who I saw play in a great AL college game against TN in Birmingham Legion Field. This was during the time that my daughter Lynn was a student @ AL. I loved the reference in Carl Peterson's (Pres of KC Cheifs) about how D.T. would give special thanks to Bill Curry his coach at AL. Curry, and the Univ. were all class in the college sports world at that time.

    And, the remarks of Bruce Smith about VT were so appropriate. Smith is usually on the side lines of VT home games. He lives in Blacksburg, VA. What a great guy!

    Finally, I've gotten through the Sunday talk shows and my fav Sunday Morning. Time for PM sports. By the by, I get a preventative defibrilator/pace maker tomorrow morning; and, then they are through with me. Right now, I am already as good as new! However, ALL our fams and friends need to be encouraged to take care of them selves with excercise and diet! Commit today!. Later.....

  2. Love it! So ready for the season - are you bluegoldwvu on twitter? if not - check it out - your post got a mention :)

  3. Mr. 653...

    Those H.O.F. inductions were enjoyable. I watched Derek Thomas and Rod Woodson specifically. I bet seeing Thomas play at 'Bama was interesting. I'm sure he dominated in college. And Bruce Smith... I can't say he's one of my favorite players, but you have to respect his game!

    Good luck with the defib today! We're all happy you get to go home. It's true... we all need to take care of ourselves. We'll see you soon.

    And Becky...

    Nope. That's not me. I'm just @myfirstandlastname on Twitter. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. As for @goldbluewvu, thanks for posting it!