Countdown to Kickoff: Days 100-91

WVU Football

The countdown to the 2019 WVU football season has begun, and in the days leading up to the Aug. 31 opener against James Madison, we’re going back in time to revisit some of the greatest players, moments and memories from Mountaineer history.

No. 91: Alvin Swoope’s 91-yard kick return in the Backyard Brawl

Editor’s note: any time you can write about the Backyard Brawl and a Pitt loss then do it, right? Flashback to the 1996 edition of the contest in Pittsburgh, and it was a mess of a game for Pitt. In fact, West Virginia dominated the entire game as Famous Amos Zereoue ran for 135 yards and a touchdown for the visiting Mountaineers. Quarterback Chad Johnston was 15-of-22 for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns as West Virginia crushed the Panthers.

Our Day 91 moment comes at the start of the third quarter when WVU’s Alvin Swoope took the kickoff 91 yards to the Pitt 5-yard line. On the next play, West Virginia scored and the blowout was in full effect. The Mountaineers would go on to win the Backyard Brawl 34-0 in front of 54,612 fans in Pittsburgh.

No. 92 : Noel Devine, WVU Running Back (2008) 92-rush from scrimmage vs. Syracuse   

Noel Devine had a career day rushing for 188 yards and a touchdown as West Virginia defeated Syracuse 17-6.  

West Virginia’s offense was struggling without the services of starting quarterback Pat White, who didn’t dress in uniform due to a hit to the head against Rutgers.

Believe it or not, Syracuse outgained West Virginia 346 yards to 268 but the Orange were kept out of the end zone for the first time that season.  Syracuse had plenty of opportunities to score and take the lead in the second half. To set up our Day 92 play, we take you back to Mountaineer field were on three separate occasions, Syracuse drove inside the WVU 20-yard line to come away with ZERO points.

On one of those defensive stops, West Virginia took control of the ball and the game when Noel Devine galloped to paydirt with a career-long 92-yard TD run, electrifying the home crowd at Mountaineer Field. West Virginia won the game 17-6.

No. 93: Rasheed Marshall’s 93-yard touchdown pass vs. no. 3 Virginia Tech

During the 2003 season, West Virginia (2-4, 1-1 Big East) had a slow start to the season entering the game verse nationally ranked Virginia Tech. Quincy Wilson rushed for a season-high 178 yards to lead WVU to a 28-7 victory over No. 3 Virginia Tech. 

The Hokies fell down 14 points early and never crossed midfield in the second half suffering its worst defeat since a 38-7 setback to Pitt in November 2001. WVU never trailed as the ended a 7-game losing streak against third-ranked teams.

Our play for Day 93 comes from this game vs. Virginia Tech. On West Virginia’s first drive of the second half, Rasheed Marshall found Travis Garvin alone at the Mountaineer 45 yard line. Garvin turned on the jets and scored on a 93-yard pass play for a 21-7 lead for WVU. The Marshall to Garvin completion was the second-longest pass play in school history. WVU won the game 28-7.

No. 94: Kenny Robinson takes a pick-six 94 yards to the house vs. Texas

Many Mountaineer fans will remember this game and this date as the Will Grier finger injury game, which featured the infamous sprint to the corner of the end zone by the quarterback Grier.  The result of the run was no touchdown and a season ending hand injury. 

However, midway through the third quarter, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger was hit by WVU linebacker Dylan Tonkery as he threw near the West Virginia goal line. Freshman safety Kenny Robinson grabbed the floater and returned it 94 yards for a touchdown. It was Robinson’s second pick-six that season.

No. 95: Adam “Pac-Man” Jones’s 95 total punt return yards vs. ECU

Adam “Pac-Man” Jones was a dynamic weapon in the defensive secondary.  Pac-Man would gobble running backs on defense, but he could also change games as a punt returner. Let’s go back to September of 2004, when West Virginia kicked off their season against East Carolina.

Jones helped turn the game into a blow out late in the second half, when he took a midfield punt from ECU’s Ryan Dougherty. He slashed right and exploded up the field avoiding tacklers for a 76-yard touchdown.

On top of that, Pac-Man would earn an additional 19 punt return yards throughout the game, making his total for the season opener 95.

No. 96: Pat Randolph’s 96-yard rushing touchdown vs. Northern Illinois

Pat Randolph, a high octane running back from Folsom, PA is our selection for the countdown.  During his four-year career at West Virginia, Randolph accumulated 1205 rushing yards on 294 attempts, with 96 of those coming in one play against Northern Illinois.

With the ball on the 4 yard line, the West Virginia offensive line perfectly executed a power concept, allowing Randolph to punch through the box untouched for 96 yards.

No. 97: Mike Collins’s 97-yard fumble return touchdown vs. Missouri

Huntington native Mike Collins created a name for himself in Morgantown during his years at West Virginia from 1990-1993.  

The defensive-minded Collins scored two touchdowns in his WVU career, the most memorable of which would probably be the 97-yard fumble return against the Tigers of Missouri. Collins wore No. 25 and played in 45 games with 216 solo tackles to his name.

No. 98: Rashaan Vanterpool’s 98 punt return yards against Kent State

We had to dig deep for this one.  Rashaan Vanterpool, who handled both wide receiver and punt return duties had a big day in September of 1995.

In fact, Vanterpool had a field day against Kent State catching six passes for a total of 96 yards plus two touchdowns.  He also turned in four punt returns totaling 98 yards on the afternoon in Morgantown.

The North Babylon, NY native wore No. 26 and played for WVU (1993-1996). He played in 43 games with 62 punt returns for a totaling 521 for the special teams.

No. 99: Darwin Cook’s 99-yard fumble return in the Orange Bowl

Today marks 99 days until West Virginia’s opener against James Madison.  Do you remember where you were the night of the West Virginia-Clemson Orange Bowl game?  For Mountaineer fans, it’s easy to recall that victory for WVU

The turning point of the game was in the second quarter when Clemson running back Andre Ellington followed a mass of blockers into a goal line pile of players. A pair of Tiger players raised their arms, making the touchdown call.

That was a little premature, as West Virginia’s Darwin Cook grabbed the ball from Ellington and scampered 99-yards for the WVU touchdown.

No. 100: Chuck Kinder, WVU kicker (1963)

During West Virginia’s celebration of its 100th year of statehood, Chuck Kinder of Charleston was allowed to don a No. 100 jersey as he helped kick WVU to victory that season.

“I was grateful that I had the opportunity to play for the Mountaineers in both football and baseball,” Kinder told Mickey Furfari, the late WVU sportswriter. “I still have that jersey with No. 100 on it.”

Kinder logged 103 points in his career, and he also punted 107 times, including a career-long 68-yard boot.


The countdown is on to the start of the 2019 West Virginia football season. WVU will host James Madison on Aug. 31. Follow West Virginia Illustrated on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @WVIllustrated to be a part of our Countdown to Kickoff. Keep an eye out for more Mountaineer football coverage here at and in your daily WV Illustrated reports on Nexstar stations throughout West Virginia.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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