MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Whatever game plan Iowa State brought to Mountaineer Field, it likely didn’t involve putting freshman quarterback Grant Rohach in a 24-point hole.
But such was the deficit Rohach helped dig with his early interception. And such was the deficit Rohach helped erase by throwing for three touchdowns in regulation and a fourth in triple-overtime as the Cyclones ruined West Virginia’s senior day 52-44.
That final score marked quite a reversal from Iowa State trailing 31-7 in what portended to become a blowout.
“It was demoralizing to say the least, but I have full faith in my guys to come back,” said Rohach. “And that’s why we didn’t keel over.”
After Rohach threw a pass directly to linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski in the first quarter, WVU took over at the Iowa State 6-yard line and punched it in for a 10-0 lead.
On the Cyclones’ next series running back Aaron Wembley was stripped, leading to West Virginia safety Karl Joseph’s 38-yard scoop-and-score.
“The turnovers early in the game, it brings the whole team down,” Rohach said. “You could obviously see that because we went down by so many. But I’m so glad of the guys that we battled back.”
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads provided another of his inspirational podium deliveries after his team salvaged a bit of end-of-season momentum.
“Everybody wants to finish with a ‘W’,” said Rhoads, who called his team “a group of young men who never gave up on the season.”
“Same way with the coaching staff. They’ve been knocked around, been beat up—partially by me—and just kept preparing and working. Cyclone fans that came along with us today and those that have stuck with us all season deserve this moment too.”