Clay Makes Mark with First TD in Win - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Clay Makes Mark with First TD in Win

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FORT WORTH, Texas -

Cody Clay doesn't do this for the notoriety. He doesn't play football hoping he can rack up the most statistics each week or make flashy plays.

Cody Clay plays his heart out for the West Virginia University football team because he sees it as a blessing, an opportunity he dreamed about growing up in Alum Creek, just a few hours away from the campus he now calls home.

When Clay got to WVU, there was a real question on the coaching staff's part as to how he would be used. A big body, they wanted to make him an offensive lineman, but he could never get quite big enough. So they shaped him into a tight end, a fullback, and whatever other role they could make sense of.

In his second year on the field, the redshirt sophomore finds himself on the receiving end of passes far more often than he had last season. On third downs or in situations where the Mountaineers need just a few yards to move the chains, they have begun to look for him.

On Saturday, with the team trailing in the fourth quarter, quarterback Clint Trickett rolled out on a bootleg and found Clay sprinting to the right. Trickett hit him and Clay did the rest.

A TCU defender dove at his knees, but to no avail. The defender's helmet took the brunt of the hit and popped off as Clay went diving for the pylon. He sat there, next to the goal line, looking up at the official for the sign, unsure of whether or not he had made it.

The official's hands went high, and he knew he had scored his first career touchdown as a Mountaineer.

"At first, I wasn't sure I was in or not, so I was watching the guy," Clay said after the 30-27 overtime win. "He hesitated and he did it, I was like, ‘Yes.' And then everybody attacked me. It was awesome, I'm not going to lie. It was awesome."

It wasn't only awesome for Clay. As he said, his teammates attacked him. As excited as he must have been at the moment, it seemed like every single one of the Mountaineers in that same all-white uniform had just scored his first career touchdown.

"Cody's such a hard worker on this team that to see all of that hard work finally pay off and he can get into the end zone like that, there's nothing better than that," said offensive lineman Pat Eger.

The ones on the field jumped all over him and after he had blocked for the ensuing extra point, the teammates waiting on the sideline had their turn to mob him. It said a lot about how the players who suit up with him each day feel about the West Virginia native.

"I think everybody loves Cody," said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. "He attracts people around him, so everybody's happy to see him do well. The box was the same way when he scored. We've been wanting to get him in the end zone for a while, so the way it unfolded was good."

Clay shows just eight receptions for 67 yards on the season, but that is not indicative of the work he puts in throughout the week and the impact he has on any given game. Head coach Dana Holgorsen said this year at Big 12 Media Days that Clay may have been the best football player on the Mountaineers' roster, he simply does not play a position that gets him much recognition.

"I had 55 other plays that were just blocking, so it's nice to actually contribute a little bit more in that directly, I guess you could say," said Clay.

At the end of the game, Clay could point to the scoreboard and say that six of those 30 points were his, something he has never been able to claim at this level. But for Clay, knowing the touchdown helped get the Mountaineers back in the win column was the most important part.

"We needed it as bad as you could ever need a win," he said. "We lost, what is it, three-straight now? It's just about time. We needed it. We've been preaching finish for weeks now and we finally did finish in overtime." 

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