Martinsburgh, WV—The Mountaineers reclaimed the Black Diamond Trophy with the win, are now 2-1 for the season. West Virginia held on by the slimmest of margins to beat No. 15 Virginia Tech, 27-21, Saturday afternoon before a sellout crowd at Mountaineer Field.
West Virginia had to make a goal-line stand in the final minute to hold on to the win. WVU led 27-7 late in the third quarter, but the Hokies scored two unanswered TDs to pull within six points with 3:10 remaining in the contest. The Mountaineers tried to run out the clock, but on third-and-10, Jarret Doege threw an interception, giving Virginia Tech life at the WVU 17-yd line.
The fate of the Black Diamond Trophy rested on one play.
Virginia Tech drove to the three yard line looking for the go-ahead TD, but West Virginia’s defense made a solid stand to preserve the win.
Sitting on the Mountaineers 5-yard line, Hokies quarterback Braxton Burmeister took the snap and rolled out to the right to make a play. After burning three seconds, and facing immense pressure from the WVU defense, Burmeister planted his feet and threw to his left.
His intended target was Tre’ Turner, who entered the afternoon as the team’s most clutch and most reliable wide receiver.
As the ball sailed in Turner’s direction, Mountaineers’ Jackie Matthews lunged in front of him, knocking the pass away. The deflection resulted in a Virginia Tech turnover on downs, ensuring that the Black Diamond Trophy would be rooming in Morgantown for the next year.
Starting WVU QB Jarret Doege threw two touchdown passes, RB Leddie Brown rushed for 106 yards and a score and West Virginia survived No. 15 Virginia Tech’s rally from 20-points.
In the postgame media conference, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown said that the read came down to repetition. The Mountaineers often ran the play Virginia Tech threw at them in practice in their drills where they rep multiple two-point plays.
It’s something that West Virginia does in practice every day.
“I could see it unfolding within my eyes,” Brown said. “I saw the guy go in motion, do what we call a little orbit motion, (he) came back out and I thought our guys on the backend did a great job matching it. We played it like we had seen that play before, which we had.”
The game’s final Hokies possession was their fourth time in the red zone. The West Virginia defense remained stout around the ball, Virginia Tech came away with points only once.
Linebacker Jared Bartlett was a wrecking machine on defense as he racked up three second-half sacks. One of those came late in the fourth, which resulted in a Burmeister fumble. West Virginia did not capitalize those opportunities into points but it took major time off the clock.
“We had an idea of what they were going to do coming in,” Bartlett said. “Throughout the game, (we) make adjustments of slight things. We just really played physical, and that’s what helped us win the game today.”
“I feel like we kind of got rocked at first,” Virginia Tech Justin said Fuente, whose team (2-1) plays a home game at noon Saturday against Richmond (2-1).
Virginia Tech remains 1-0 in the ACC after knocking off preseason Coastal Division favorite North Carolina.
The Hokies trailed 24-7 at halftime but came within a few yards of potentially winning the game. Fuente said, “We settled down and made a nice comeback.”
WVU Alonzo Addae, a senior safety, said that the practice reps certainly helped especially with the switch that was required on the fourth down play. While it wasn’t a two-point play, it was ran similar to what the Mountaineers often rep against in practice.
“Almost every day we work on two point plays so we’ve seen that from our offense. It was really about executing the call that the coaches put out. It was a great call, everybody stayed on their assignment did their job and you saw the result,” he said.