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#pounditThursday, February 9, 2023

West Virginia DB costs team with total bonehead mistake

Malachi Ruffin celebration

West Virginia safety Malachi Ruffin made a fairly unforgivable mistake Saturday during his team’s game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Ruffin was defending Cowboys wide receiver Braydon Johnson during the second quarter of Saturday’s game and apparently thought he had successfully broken up a pass intended for Johnson. Ruffin celebrated by making the incomplete signal, as defensive backs often do after breaking up a pass play.

There was just one problem: Johnson had made the catch and was sprinting away from the celebrating defensive back.

Johnson had the first down either way, but if Ruffin had done his job and wrapped him up at the spot of the completion, the ball would have been near the 50. Instead, Johnson took it all the way down to the West Virginia 20, so Ruffin’s mistake cost his team roughly 30 yards.

Sometimes, success or failure comes down to being mentally in the game and avoiding mistakes. We’ve seen it before in the NFL, and it might be even more true at the college level. Ruffin probably won’t make that mistake again.

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