MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Gold & Blue Lunch Report loves history, and according to Jovon Durante, the 2015 image below is ancient history. Forgotten history, even.
His dropped touchdown in Fort Worth stood out among several embarrassing moments for West Virginia’s receivers last season. But the unit made spectacular amends Saturday, scooping passes off the turf and plucking them away from TCU defenders, during a 34-10 victory that wasn’t only the Mountaineers’ latest but also their most impressive so far.
“I just wanted to play strong and act like the stuff that happened last year never happened,” Durante said.
Durante’s contorting 31-yard grab saved Skyler Howard from a careless throw into double-coverage, though the risk percentage is diminished by the way WVU’s receivers are attacking 50/50 passes with an aggressive mindset.
“If it’s not our ball, it’s nobody’s ball,” Durante said.
West Virginia’s offensive staff didn’t mind rewinding the film from 2015 when dropped passes worsened the sting of a 40-10 loss.
“Our receivers didn’t make those catches last year. TCU got after us pretty good and we didn’t help out (the quarterback) at all,” coach Dana Holgorsen said.
“TCU’s really good at reading routes and understanding what’s coming at them — that’s Gary Patterson’s defense. So our receivers were pretty motivated. They knew they were going to be covered and those catches were going to be contested.”
Durante owns 20 catches this fall, just four off his 2015 freshman total, and bigger moments surely await as he navigates the new complexities of playing slot receiver. More route options, more indicators to process, more defenders laying in wait.
“Running in traffic, catching the ball and getting hit — I really wasn’t a part of that when I was on the outside,” he said.
Check out today’s Lunch Report video for all the ups and downs from the TCU win that returned West Virginia to the AP top 10. Plus, there’s our conference-wide recap for football fans with short attention spans as we go “Around the Big 12 in 12 Seconds.”