Mountaineer fans got to relive one of the biggest victories in West Virginia football history when the 2008 Fiesta Bowl was re-aired on Nexstar stations across West Virginia, featuring guest appearances from former players Reed Williams, Owen Schmitt and Pat McAfee.
The day got off to a late start for the Bill Stewart-led Mountaineers, as the linebacker Williams recalled the team showed up late to the stadium. With tension already high from the chaos before the contest, stress was compounded by the shortened schedule — which gave way to one of the greatest speeches in Mountaineer history.
Lesser-known, however, is the speech given by Schmitt at the hotel the night before — you can read about that one here.
Oklahoma got the ball first but not before the “jabber-jawin'” started, in the words of Schmitt, who likened the Sooners’ trash talk to that of “a chihuahua.”
The Mountaineers took a hit early on when Steve Slaton was taken to the locker room with an injury, depleting the lethal WVU backfield consisting of Slaton, Pat White, Schmitt and Noel Devine, who was in his first bowl game as a freshman. Stewart would have to rely on Devine to take over the squad’s duties in the run game.
Offense was hard to come by out of the gate, with Pat McAfee logging the first points of the game with a 39-yard field goal.
McAfee nailed another one with two seconds left in the first quarter to put WVU up 6-0, with the second kick coming from 42 yards.
Despite an interception from WVU’s Quinton Andrews, the Mountaineers were unable to score again before Oklahoma kicker Garrett Hartley cut the Mountaineer lead in half with a 37-yard strike.
On the ensuing drive, a West Virginia legend was written. As White led the Mountaineers down the field, Stewart called a run play for Schmitt, who cut to the right and found a little space.
And just like that, the Mountaineers had their first touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, Hartley again put a trio of points on the board to keep the game within a score for OU — but as White would soon show the Sooners, trading field goals for touchdowns isn’t a good strategy for victory.
After that score, the Mountaineers took a 20-6 halftime lead to the locker room with the ball when they came back out.
However, it would be Oklahoma who struck first in the second half, really putting the Mountaineer lead in danger with another field goal from Hartley followed by a 1-yard touchdown run from Chris Brown. OU would try for a two-point conversion, but that failed to keep the WVU lead at 20-15.
West Virginia’s takeover of the game then began in the final minutes of the second half. White again led his offense down the field, getting them to the red zone, setting up a 17-yard touchdown run for Devine off of a perfect zone blocking scheme.
The Mountaineers would score once again on the ground before the quarter expired, this time on the end-around to Reynaud for his second touchdown of the game.
Oklahoma got the ball back and didn’t waste a whole lot of time on the field. Within two minutes of game time from Reynaud’s dash, Sam Bradford nabbed his second touchdown pass after finding Quentin Chasey in the end zone. The Sooners attempted and failed for two points, then kicked the ball in the end zone for a WVU touchback.
On 1st and 10, Bill Stewart sent Pat White out with two running backs and three wide receivers — but he would only need Tito Gonzales to close out the drive in one play.
Oklahoma would score another touchdown on the next drive, but it was too late. Just a few plays later, the Mountaineers would again hand the ball to Devine on the left side of the line, who executed a perfect zone scheme for a massive game-sealing touchdown.
At this point, it was just a matter of the clock winding down, and the Mountaineers were Fiesta Bowl champions.
Pat White, who amassed 176 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns and 150 rushing yards went on to be the game’s offensive MVP, while Reed Williams earned the defensive MVP for his 9 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss and a sack.
McAfee, Schmitt and Williams all joined West Virginia Illustrated to reminisce on the victory, and you can watch the full interviews below.