COLLEGE PARK, Md. — After an exhilarating 40-37 victory at Maryland that marked the second-most prolific passing day in West Virginia history, Clint Trickett didn’t want to be known as The 500-Yard Man.
“I barely even did anything. I just facilitated—those guys are the ones making the plays,” he said. “I throw it 2 yards and they run it 90.”
Ah, the humility. What Trickett calls facilitation could make him the Big 12’s best quarterback.
The senior showed nice touch on deep balls as he tossed four touchdowns, and he showed patient poise on the game-ending drive that began on West Virginia’s 5-yard line with 2:35 left. He mixed run calls with 6-for-6 passing to set up Josh Lambert’s field-goal winner.
“We started out pinned back and we kind of just wanted to see if we could get it out of there,” Trickett said. “We didn’t want to give them the ball back, so there’s a fine line.”
And there’s a fine chemistry developing between Trickett and his top receivers—Kevin White, who caught 13 passes for 216 yards, and Mario Alford, who grabbed 11 for 131. They were the first WVU combo to break 100 yards receiving since the Tavon Austin-Stedman Bailey duo in 2012.
Yet on the most essential drive of the afternoon, Trickett’s most important throws went to Daikiel Shorts for 17 yards and Dustin Garrison, who gained 11 on a third-and-8 when WVU was still backed up at its 22.
Trickett had learned about forcing throws from the one he threw in the second-quarter toward White, who was stalked by four defenders. That interception was Trickett’s first of the year, and his last mistake of the day.
He wound up 37-of-49 for 511 yards, second only to the ridiculous 656 Geno Smith hung on Baylor in the program’s Big 12 debut two seasons ago.
For a span Saturday, it looked as if West Virginia might need to score 70 to put away Maryland. A 22-point lead evaporated as the Terps brought the juice back to Byrd Stadium. The Mountaineers left oodles of points on the field, scoring five TDs while watching seven drives end inside the Terrapins 40 without points. Seven.
“We get a big lead and we let them come back. But it was just such a resilient game,” said Trickett, who said he collapsed on the sideline after Lambert’s 47-yard kick sailed through at the horn.
After running 108 plays and racking up nearly 700 yards, Trickett felt as exhausted as he did relieved.
Facilitating can be hard work.