MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - There were many keys to Saturday's game between William & Mary and WVU at Milan Puskar Stadium.
There were the rollout passes that helped keep the visiting Tribe in contention. There was the running game that helped the host Mountaineers.
But the key that unlocked WVU from upset jail might have been new punter Nick O'Toole, a transfer from Fullerton [Calif.] College.
On five punts, he covered 253 yards for an average of 50.6 per boot. He had a long of 60 yards and placed one inside the Tribe 20.
"I'm glad we had Nick O'Toole," said WVU offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.
At the start of the fourth quarter, WVU was tied with the underdog Tribe at 17. After a missed William & Mary field goal, the Mountaineers bogged down again. On fourth-and-8 from WVU's 27, O'Toole uncorked a punt for 56 yards. The Tribe had to start at its own 22.
A WVU series later, O'Toole went in to face even more dire circumstances. The Mountaineers were on their own 13 and in a fourth-and-3 situation. The sophomore crushed one 60 yards and again Cook was there for the tackle, a loss of 2 yards for Sean Ballard. W&M began at its own 25.
"When we were backed up, I knew I had to hit a big kick," O'Toole said of the latter. "I saw their returner was lined up at the 50. I thought, 'I'd better get it over his head.'
"The wind was behind me. It was a great snap by John [DePalma]. The coverage was awesome. Cook got down there. I was talking to John later. He said Cook got down there fast. He passed him."
O'Toole seemed to have no attack of nerves or lack of confidence.