Countdown to Kickoff: Day 46

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

No. 46: Highest punting average (46.2) by Todd Sauerbrun, 1991-1994

West Virginia punter Todd Sauerbrun was an integral part of the Mountaineers’ special teams personnel in the 1990s. His ability to flip the field aided Mountaineer defenses while stretching it out for the opposition.

Sauerbrun is one of the most successful punters in program history. His 46.2 yards per punt is the highest among all Mountaineer punters, and he holds the third-highest punt yard total with 8,181.

No. 47: Reed Williams, linebacker 2005-2009

A native of Moorefield, WV, Reed Williams was the centerpiece of the West Virginia defense for much of the late 2000s.

Williams is most noted for his performance in the historic 2008 Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma, in which the Mountaineers upset the Sooners, 48-28. He would play well enough in that contest to earn himself the bowl’s Defensive MVP award opposite Pat White, who would earn the offensive MVP.

He would finish his career as a star off the field as well, as he was named the 2010 BIG EAST Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

No. 48: Willie Drewrey, wide receiver 1981-1984

The Mountaineers were a threat whenever they put the ball in Willie Drewrey’s hands. 

Not only was Drewrey one of the program’s top receivers for multiple years of his career, but he was also one of the top special teams weapons in the country. His three career punt return touchdowns still remain tied for second in WVU football history, and no other Mountaineer since has been able to match that number since he departed from Morgantown in 1985.

Drewrey went on to have a nine-year NFL career, competing for both the Houston Oilers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He retired as an Oiler, the team he started with, in 1993.

No. 49: WVU defeats Texas Mines 21-12 in the 1949 Sun Bowl

Dudley DeGroot made an immediate impact on West Virginia football in his debut 1948 season as the Mountaineers’ head coach. Despite dropping two consecutive rivalry games on the road to Pitt and Penn State early on, DeGroot’s squad were able to put together a 9-3 record while outscoring opponents by 257-140. In fact, with the exception of their 37-7 loss to Pitt, the Mountaineers didn’t allow more than 16 points in any other game that year.

Their success in the regular season earned them a bid to that season’s Sun Bowl, where they defeated Texas School of Mines (now UTEP). Even though both teams offensive outputs were fairly even (West Virginia had the slight edge, 305 yards to 302) Texas Mines was unable to successfully keep possession of the ball, losing 4 fumbles. The Mountaineers went on to be victorious, 21-12.

No. 50: Mike Molina’s 50-yard field goal against Baylor, 2016

West Virginia football had one of the best seasons in recent memory in 2016, notching 10 victories and hovering near the top 10 rankings for the second half of the season. In order to get to that point, though, the Mountaineers had to go through Baylor.

Early in the matchup, Mike Molina set up from 50 yards and converted to put the first score on the board. This field goal would prove to be the difference, as the Mountaineers defeated the Bears 27-24 to improve to 10-2.

Previous countdown moments: 100-91 – 90-81 – 80-71 — 70-6160-51

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