BELIEVE: The Story of the 2007 West Virginia Mountaineer Football Team

ABOUT THE BOOK

There has never been a year like 2007 in the history of Mountaineer football!


A promising start was derailed by the loss to South Florida. Then the Mounties climbed to No. 1 in the Coaches Poll. With the national championship in sight, the Mountaineers were dealt a devastating set back to arch-rival Pitt and the exit of Coach Rodriguez. Finally, the storybook ending with a win for the ages in the Fiesta Bowl and native son Bill Stewart passing his on-field interview to become the next Mountaineer head coach.


The Dominion Post’s photographers and writers have captured this amazing season in a beautiful, hard-bound commemorative book. It will cover the entire regular season, complete coverage of the incredible Fiesta Bowl win and the dramatic coaching changes. Order today!

BELIEVE: The Story of the 2007 West Virginia Mountaineer Football Team

$29.95

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A SAMPLING OF PHOTOS (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

WVU Football

A fan holds up a sign during a game against Louisville. (Jason DeProspero)

The WVU drum line marches onto the field at the start of the Mountaineers first game of the year. (Jason DeProspero)

Mountaineer fans hold up a banner in the stands near the end of the Marshall game. (Jason DeProspero)

Fans do the “first down cheer” as WVU moves the ball downfield. (Jason DeProspero)

Mountaineer fans cheer after a touchdown against Syracuse. (Jason DeProspero)

Mountaineer Brady Campbell leads the cheerleaders and the team onto the field at the start of the Marshall game. (Jason DeProspero)

Shawn King and Jason Borland celebrate after a WVU touchdown against Maryland. (Jason DeProspero)

Ryan Mundy dives to recover a Cincinnati fumble. (Jason DeProspero)

Keilen Dykes swings ECU running back Chris Johnson to the ground for a loss.(Jason DeProspero)

Vaughn Rivers avoids a defender at the Fiesta Bowl. (Jason DeProspero)

A WVU cheerleader keeps the crowd in the game after a touchdown. (Jason DeProspero)

A young West Virginia fan celebrates after a fourth quarter touchdown as a Rutgers fans a few rows behind hides her face. (Jason DeProspero)

A SAMPLING OF STORIES

Knights Knocked Out

BY STEFANIE LOH - THE DOMINION POST // West Virginia University running back Steve Slaton emerged victorious in the “Battle of the Backs,” as he and the Mountaineers rolled to to a 31-3 romp over Ray Rice’s Scarlet Knights on Saturday afternoon.

Slaton did his best work toward the end of the first quarter. Taking a handoff from Patrick White, Slaton squirmed out of Rutgers defensive end George Johnson’s flailing arms, faked out an onrushing Damon Munoz, and ran the ball 38 yards into the end zone for a touchdown to put the Mountaineers up 7-0.

It was the kind of long run Slaton had built his reputation on, and it was his longest touchdown run since the season opener against Western Michigan.

“Steve, I thought, played hard, and I thought one of the biggest plays in the game was the screen play on third and long,” WVU coach Rich Rodriguez said. “That was one of the key plays for us.”

On third-and-13 in the third quarter, White took a high snap from center Mike Dent and threw the ball to Slaton, who took off down the left sideline, stiff-arming a Rutgers defender en route to a 51-yard gain that kept the WVU drive going.

“I wanted to see him fall,” Slaton joked, when asked why he threw the stiff arm on the way out of bounds.

Slaton finished with three touchdowns and 73 rushing yards on 16 carries. He is only the second player in Big East Conference history to score 50 career touchdowns. Virginia Tech’s Lee Suggs ended his collegiate career in 2002 with 56 touchdowns.

Fellow Heisman-candidate Rice managed to out-gain Slaton — rushing for 142 yards on 30 carries — but the glaring “0” in the touchdown column stood out in the end.

Because everything seemed to go WVU’s way.

Early in the first quarter, Mike Dent delivered another high snap that went through White’s hands and resulted in 4th-and-30 on the WVU 45-yard line.

Pat McAfee punted and miraculously, on its downward drop, the ball hit a Rutgers player in the back. Mortty Ivy recovered it at the 31, giving the Mountaineers almost the same field position they had before the fumbled snap.

That offensive drive was capped off by another lucky play when White made a push for the end zone on 4th-and-1. The ball popped out of his arms before he clearly recovered it in the end zone.

That touchdown was WVU’s 100th in its last 27 games.

White finished with 144 yards passing, 156 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown.

Rutgers went 9-of-17 on third down conversions and was limited to just a second quarter field goal. The Scarlet Knights finished with 314 total offensive yards to WVU’s 398.

Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel was held to 27 passing yards in the first half, but made up for it toward the end of the game, and finished 14-of-30 for 128 yards and two interceptions.

“We had the ball in the red zone and we had opportunities, but we had negative plays and penalties,” Teel said. “We didn’t play our best football, and a lot of that goes to West Virginia.”

Rodriguez said that was the most complete game his team had played since its win against East Carolina.

“I was pleased with the win,” Rodriguez said. “We beat a quality team on the road in a tough division. I thought our guys displayed with a lot of maturity and really focused all week in practice.

“I thought our offense did good things. I thought our defense did good things the whole game, and I thought our special teams was outstanding.”

Wvu Survives Scare White Runs for 50-Yard Game-Winner With 1:36 Left

BY STEFANIE LOH - THE DOMINION POST // Thursday night at Milan Puskar Stadium, Louisville provided the Mountaineers with something they hadn’t had to deal with in more than a month — competition.

Resplendent in gold jerseys and matching gold pants, West Virginia University waited until the very end to pull out a 38-31 Big East Conference win that kept its national championship hopes alive.

The game was played mostly through the air, but won on the legs of quarterback Patrick White, who sprinted 50 yards into the end zone for the gamewinning touchdown in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter.

Until that point, Louisville (5-5, 2-3 Big East) gamely matched WVU score-for-score.

The Mountaineers (8-1, 3-1) struck first when, with 3:18 remaining in the first quarter, White hit wide receiver Darius Reynaud in the end zone to put the Mountaineers up 7-0 with 3:18 remaining in the first quarter.

One unsuccessful Louisville offensive drive and two and a half minutes later, White and Reynaud connected again, this time on a 9-yard touchdown pass.

Now up 14-0, the Mountaineers looked to have taken control.

But the Cardinals immediately mounted a counter offensive.

On the next drive, Brohm marched the Cardinals 59 yards down field and capped things off with a 16-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Gary Barnidge to keep Louisville in the game.

The two teams exchanged one more touchdown apiece before heading to the locker room at halftime with the Mountaineers ahead, 21-14.

WVU opened the second half with a 41-yard kickoff return by Noel Devine that gave the Mountaineers the ball on the Louisville 45 yardline.

On third-and-9 on the 11-yard line, White rifled a pass to Jock Sanders aimed deep in the end zone, but Sanders could not come down with the ball.

The Mountaineers settled for a 28-yard Pat McAfee field goal.

Then the game unraveled into a turnover exchange punctuated by penalties and several official reviews.

On second-and-11, WVU found its way into Cardinal territory and was gaining momentum for another scoring attempt when White was engulfed by a pack of Louisville defenders.

The quarterback went down hard and the ball popped out of his hands.

Then the Mountaineer defense came out to validate its top-10 ranking.

Linebacker John Holmes sacked Brohm on third-and-8. Once again, the ball popped out. This time, senior safety Eric Wicks scooped up the return and ran it into the end zone for his first defensive touchdown of the season.

But even with WVU ahead by 17 points, Louisville would not back down.

Brohm led the Cardinals in a 4-minute, 46-yard drive that — despite two false start penalties from by tight end Scott Kuhn — ended with running back Brock Bolen barreling his way into the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown run.

Later in the fourth, Louisville struck again.

The Cardinals needed only 1:13 to gain 52 yards through the air on four pass plays, the fourth of which was a 12-yard touchdown pass from Brohm to wideout Mario Urrutia that closed the gap to 31-28.

WVU was ineffective on its next offensive drive, but again the defense came up big when Ryan Mundy knocked the ball out of the Louisville’s Harry Douglas’ hands on a pass from Brohm that would have driven the Cardinals halfway down the field.

Wicks recovered for the Mountaineers.

But two plays later Cardinal linebacker Lamar Myles tackled White hard enough to pop the ball out.

Louisville recovered.

Even though the Cardinals were aided by two Mountaineer penalties that totaled 25 yards, Louisville had to settle for a tying field goal.

The Mountaineers had seen enough.

On second-and-8 at the 50 yard line, White took off on a 50 yard run to put WVU up 38-31.

Louisville had 1:34 seconds to try and tie things up, but Antonio Lewis intercepted Brohm’s Hail Mary pass intended for the end zone to end Louisville’s comeback hopes for good.

Brohm finished with 345 passing yards on 27-of-46 passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

White went 16-of-25 for 181 yards passing and two touchdowns, and ran for another 147 yards and the game-winning score.

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