Football, WVU Sports

NOTEBOOK: Replay confirms Bryce Ford-Wheaton’s career day against Cyclones

MORGANTOWN — There were a little bit of nerves for WVU wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton as he watched the officials stare at a monitor near the 20-yard line Saturday against Iowa State.

He had just snatched a Jarret Doege pass out of the air and tapped his right football in the very back of the end zone for a touchdown, at least according to the back judge.

While the review took a little longer than Ford-Wheaton would have liked, the call was upheld, although he didn’t believe it was even warranted.

“Nah, I knew it was down,” he said with a smile. “I knew I had space to work with, so it really wasn’t a question, honestly. I knew I was going to get my foot down.

“They called it a touchdown so I was just praying, ‘Please don’t find anything to overturn this.’ ”
Ford-Wheaton finished with six catches for a team-high and career-high 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Multiple times, Doege threw it up for Ford-Wheaton even when he was covered, believing his receiver can make the play.

Ford-Wheaton also had a critical drop that led to an interception in the second quarter.

“What a growth we’ve seen with (Ford-Wheaton) in three years,” head coach Neal Brown said. “He has a drop that turns into an interception, and then he comes back and makes huge plays. So proud of him.”

Wet crowd

In rained throughout most of the morning and early afternoon before kickoff, but the poor conditions held off through most of the game on a cloudy, overcast day.

The sun peaked out once in the second quarter, but the earlier conditions kept about 15,000 fans away from Milan Puskar Stadium with an announced attendance of 45,613.

Despite the lower turnout, Brown said the fans that were there made a big difference in the Mountaineers’ win.

“I thought our crowd was huge, on third downs, fourth downs and at the end of the game,” he said. “That’s special. I talked to our guys about that in the locker room just now. If you could bottle that feeling that you have when you sing “Country Roads” … I think it’s the best tradition in college football, followed up with the celebration with those guys in the locker room. If you could bottle and sell it, it’d be priceless.”

Hall of Fame induction

In the first quarter, WVU introduced the Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021, including three former football players — running back Noel Devine (2007-10), linebacker Dale Farley (1968-70) and defensive tackle Mike Fox (1986-89).

The others included Keri Bland (cross country/track), Nicco Campriani (rifle), Lajuanda Moody (gymnastics) and Olayinka Sanni (women’s basketball). This class brings the total number of inductees to 215.

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