Football, Sports, WVU Sports

Beanie Bishop has been everything WVU hoped for this season

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia’s Beanie Bishop Jr. has quietly been one of the best cornerbacks in the Big 12 this season, if not the entire country. The buzz has picked up this week as Bishop’s two-interception performance against UCF on Saturday has earned him a pair of Big 12 honors.

Bishop, who transferred from Minnesota this offseason, was named the Big 12’s Defensive Player and Co-Newcomer of the Week on Monday after he posted two interceptions, a pass breakup and four tackles in WVU’s 41-28 win over the Knights.

“He’s been one of the positive stories out of the portal, “WVU coach Neal Brown said Monday. “We had a distinct need and wanted somebody that was a veteran, had leadership and can cover and so far, all three of those areas have been a check so far.”

Bishop leads the Big 12 in passes defended (16) and pass breakups (12) and is tied for second in interceptions with four, as many as the entire team had last season.

“We’ve got to be able to take the ball away and we haven’t been able to create takeaways (recently),” Bishop said after the game on Saturday. “We just kind of harped on that, we’ve got to get takeaways so we can get the ball back to the offense and score more points.”

West Virginia scored 21 points off of four turnovers against UCF, including touchdowns after each of Bishop’s interceptions.

“That is something we have worked a ton,” Brown said. “If you go back and look at who wins games in the Big 12, everybody talks about turnover margin, but it’s really who scores points off turnovers.”

Bishop’s first interception was one of the highlights of the game. UCF threw a deep pass that was incomplete, but the receiver inadvertently kicked the ball into the air while tumbling to the ground and Bishop was able to just turn around and grab it.

“I think I played good man coverage and forced him close to out of bounds,” Bishop recalled. “I thought he was going to catch it, then I saw the ball in the air and I hurried up and ran to it. I couldn’t let one get away.”

Bishop’s second interception, WVU’s third of the game, did a better job of showcasing his strengths as a player. Brown said Bishop is able to use his hands to keep his eyes on the quarterback, which is exactly what he did on the play.

“(The receiver) kind of did like a double move and I was able to see through him to the quarterback and make a play on the ball,” Bishop explained.

“He did a really good job in coverage,” Brown added. “They were trying to run a post and an over and (UCF quarterback John Rhys) Plumlee threw it to the over, but the post never got off (coverage), so Beanie was right there.”

Although Bishop played at Minnesota last season, he might have been destined to be a Mountaineer all along. After playing at Western Kentucky from 2018-21, Bishop went into the transfer portal and caught the eye of WVU’s coaches. Even after he picked the Golden Gophers, WVU still wanted to get him.

“We really tried to get him coming out of Western Kentucky,” Brown said. “We thought he’d be a plus player for us. I knew what kind of person we were getting because he’s from Louisville and I knew the people who trained him, I knew the people who coached him in high school and I trust those individuals. And he made a ton of plays on the ball.”

In three years as a Hilltopper, Bishop had 20 pass breakups and six interceptions. As he racked up more and more plays on the ball this season, Brown is just hoping a higher percentage of them will end up as interceptions rather than breakups.

“If you lead in PBUs, that’s great, that means they’re not catching them,” Brown said, “but it also means you’re dropping some.”


Starting right tackle Doug Nester is doubtful for this week’s game against BYU (7 p.m./FS1). He went down against UCF and did not return. Nick Malone replaced him.

Receiver Hudson Clement and Traylon Ray will both return. Clement missed the last two games and Ray went down on Saturday. Defensive back Andrew Wilson-Lamp will also return.

Spear Hershey McLaurin was ruled out prior to the game against UCF and will be reevaluated on Tuesday. 

Receiver/holder Graeson Malashevich did not play Saturday and will miss at least one more game.