MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – When West Virginia defensive end Reese Donahue proposed to girlfriend Sarah Moore at the 50-yard-line following the Mountaineers 38-22 win over Kansas, the emotions were obvious in every photo snapped.
Donahue is nervous, but pleased. Moore is shocked, but overjoyed. And no one looks happier than Ezekiel Rose.
Why the heck was a third party more fired up about the proposal than the actual couple involved?
“I was just excited to see him propose. I’ve never seen it happen in person,” Rose explained. “It was just an exciting feeling for me, too.”
Rose’s reaction has much to do with the fact he was much more than an innocent bystander. As Donahue’s roommate, he was in on the secret. Rose said the two discussed it for three weeks, but it was the night before the proposal when things got real.
“The night before the game he was panicking. Well, he wasn’t panicking. But he was breathing kind of heavy,” Rose recalled. “‘Man. I hope everything works out. We’ve got to get this W. We’ve got to get this W!’”
Rose was able to keep Donahue calm, though he had his limits.
“He told me he wanted to rehearse the proposal on me,” Rose said. “I was like, ‘You’re my dog. But nah.’”
Though the Jayhawks kept things a bit close for comfort for most of the game, the Mountaineers pulled away for an easy enough win to allow the plan to go on without a hitch. At that point, Rose’s appointed task was to gather the entire team around the “WV” logo at midfield.
“Everybody sung Country Roads and I waited at the 50. I kept directing people to the 50 when Reese went to the stands to get his girl,” Rose said. “After like 30 seconds, everyone was circled up around them. It was exciting. I was so happy.”
It wasn’t Rose’s only reason for joy on Saturday. He also factored into the win when he gobbled up his second career interception off of a David Long deflection in the first quarter.
Long crashed into the backfield on a blitz and deflected a Peyton Bender pass straight into the air.
“I actually didn’t see it. It was, like, instinct,” Rose said. “We got the call in a little late. I got down in my stance and did my little play. All I heard was ‘Boom!’ and the ball hit David. I looked, and it was right in my face. I put my hands up and it landed right in the spot.”
Rose said it felt like Christmas morning.
“He just handed it right to me and I was like ‘I’ll happily take that. Thank you, my brother,’” Rose said.
The fact he got to try on the recently unveiled “turnover helmet” – an authentic mining helmet on which players sign their names after takeaways – only added to the sensation.
“Miami got the chain. Boise State got the throne. We have the helmet,” Rose said. “It’s got the light on it and everything. I felt entitled to click on the light.”