It was a nearly perfect performance, the kind that was missing against other good defenses like LSU, Syracuse and Connecticut (all losses), and even in wins over South Florida and Louisville (just 37 total points and less than 300 yards in each game).
Was it close to what Stewart and offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen have always envisioned?
"It was,'' Stewart said. "It truly was. It's what we're trying to evolve to.''
Now much of that evolution has been out of necessity rather than pure design. Devine was the offensive workhorse early, carrying 73 times in the first three games. He injured a foot in the fourth game at LSU, however, and then an ankle at Louisville and has never really regained full form.
Still, Devine carried the ball 40 times for 189 yards in the back-to-back losses to Syracuse and UConn, but the offense never seemed in sync. Again, part of that was due to turnovers, but a great deal of it was simply ineffectiveness. In the first five Big East games of the season, WVU averaged nearly seven punts per game and turned it over on downs three times. Those have nothing to do with turnovers.
Perhaps all of that has finally been solved. Devine is getting fewer touches because of his injuries, but he's making the most of them with two 48-yard pass receptions the last two weeks. Sanders is still making plays and Austin - after being largely ignored at times - again seems a focal point. Clarke and Alston are being used more than situationally, and even tight end Will Johnson caught a wide-open touchdown pass at Pitt.
And that's not even counting the presence of receivers Brad Starks and Stedman Bailey, who have made plays on and off all season.
How things play out against Rutgers and in whatever bowl the Mountaineers wind up in remains to be seen. Some of that will no doubt be influenced by Devine's health. But look for the emphasis to remain on trying to use the big backs and the little skill players in the kind of mix that was used against Pitt.
"I like having those big backs and being able to pound the ball, but still have three wide receivers on the field and be able to do things with Tavon [in motion or in the backfield],'' Stewart said. "It's a nice mix.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.