wvu-title.jpgMiami, FL – In his final game as an Arizona Wildcat, Josh Zelman could not repeat the success of his redshirt freshman year and bring a national title to Tucson.  Instead he was overshadowed by WVU’s Barrett Dixon, who played the single greatest game that I’ve ever seen in NCAA Football.  The WVU Jr. QB was 12/20 for 236 yards and 2 TDs, and ran 10 times for 134 yards and a TD.  He was absolutely unstoppable.

The Wildcats defense played tough, but not tough enough.  John Castorani stepped up and showed that he is going to be a superstar one day, making four tackles, two interceptions including one for a touchdown.  But it wasn’t enough.

Arizona was powerless against West Virginia who would run five wide and then let Dixon scramble for yards, and whenever they would spy him, he would just pick the secondary apart.  It is clear that recruiting top notch defensive backs will be Stoops main priority in this off season.

The Mountaineers were the best defense that Arizona faced this year, and they completely sapped all the confidence of the Wildcats.  Usually, Zelman would approach the line, see single coverage and audible out, quickly finding Brock or Weaver for a huge play.  But WVU’s corners were so strong, that the confidence was completely gone.  Joel Little got nothing going on the ground, and the Mountaineers just teed off on poor Zelman. wvunccoverage.jpg

Offensively, Jason Weaver, in his first national championship game had six catches for 182 yards and 3 TDs, but two were just desperation passes as Arizona tried to make the game close.  Dane Wright also played briefly, and looked great, but it was not enough to overcome.

“We had this game,” said Weaver after the game.  “Yeah I got some TDs, but we lost, I can’t believe it, but this one actually hurts.  I saw the look on Josh’s face, he wanted this title, this was his team…kind of.”

“We played hard, but it wasn’t our year, ” said Wright after the game.  “Maybe next year,” he said with a smile, an obvious reference the fact that he will be the starter and not Zelman.

But Zelman refused to speak after the game, he was in tears, and comforted by his offensive line (except Mark Jean).

In a classless move, USC, Wisconsin and Colorado immediately offered Stoops a job after the game.  He turned them all down.

“This was an incredible class of seniors,” said Stoops after the game.  “We’re gonna miss Josh, Roy, Greg, these were big time players for us.  It’s gonna be hard to go out recruit knowing we could have won this game.  But WVU earned it, they played great.”