Julian Miller Making an Impact for WVU Defense - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Julian Miller Making an Impact for WVU Defense

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CINCINNATI, Ohio -

Julian Miller may have been quiet early in the season, but he's making his presence felt as his senior year wears on.

Back in the summer, he made it clear that he had a goal in mind. It was something that had eluded him through his first three seasons with WVU, but he wanted it badly before he left Morgantown.

He wanted double-digit sacks. Fellow defensive end Bruce Irvin had achieved the feat in just one year on the team and Miller wanted to show that he could also post those numbers.

10 games in, he only has two and it's unlikely he'll go on a flurry through these final three games to reach his goal.

It was a lofty number to reach without Chris Neild and Scooter Berry lining up alongside him. The youth and lack of size that surround him now make it far more difficult for him to reach the quarterback. Irvin has experienced the same.

What he has achieved, however, is more important. According to wvustats.com, his three fumble recoveries this season are two more takeaways than he's had in his entire career coming into the season.

Against Rutgers, Miller emerged from the piles to proudly hold the ball above his head as proof of his accomplishment. He remarked back then about what it was like to be underneath a crowd full of players each trying to come away with the same prize.

"You get guys scrapping for the ball and all you can do is fight for it as long as you can and as hard as you can," Miller said following win over the Scarlet Knights. "Thanks to Coach Mike Joseph, you know, the strength staff, no one could strip it from me. Being on the bottom of that pile, yeah, it was a lot going on under there."

On Saturday, there wasn't the same pile to contend with. No conversations took place to determine who was surrounding him and which set of grabbing hands he could trust. The only pair of hands that mattered were those of the official who raised his to indicate a touchdown.

It was the first of Miller's career, and came at a time in which his team could definitely have used the score.

"Bruce gets to the quarterback and the guys get the sack," Miller says, replaying the action after the game. "I wasn't expected the ball to pop out, but I see the ball in the end zone and at first I'm thinking, ‘Did he throw it, did he bat it or something?' But once I saw everybody going for it, I don't know who missed it, thank you they did and when it rolled back in the end zone I went for it. I kind of got scared that I might have rolled over it, but I just grabbed it and cuddled it."

Irvin and Najee Goode got to Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros and forced the ball out before Miller could pounce on it, though Goode will tell you he's the one Miller should be thanking for not getting to the ball first.

"I should've gotten it, but Julian got it. I'm not mad at him," Goode says with a smile.

Because of the attitude Miller plays with and how he carries himself off the field, it's difficult to be mad at him.

In fact, you may even find yourself being happy for him and what he's accomplished for the Mountaineers in his senior season – even if he will almost certainly fall short of his preseason goal.

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