That was a rarity, though. Isaiah Bruce, Doug Rigg and Jared Barber, who were the middle linebackers last season, combined for 21/2 sacks in 2012. The pressure typically came from outside linebackers Terence Garvin and Josh Francis.
Patterson experimented on the Kwiatkoski sack and sent him up the middle and freshman Daryl Worley from his cornerback position on the same play, a sure sign that Patterson is learning more about what Kwiatkoski and others can handle.
"He's one of those guys who does everything you ask him to do, and he doesn't deviate from it," Patterson said. "I've been very pleased with his approach every single day. What you see from him on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is what you are going to see on Saturday."
The biggest thing Patterson wants from Kwiatkoski and the other linebackers is to see them stay in the play and then make the play. Patterson preaches patience and wants his linebackers to read and react. Too often last year, the linebackers acted quickly and were taken out of plays.
In the fourth quarter against the Panthers, Kwiatkoski read a running play and shuffled to his left instead of running forward. He found the running back's alley and met him at the line of scrimmage.
"I think I got my head on the ball," he said.
The running back was dazed and the forced fumble preceded Ford Childress' third and final touchdown pass of the game.
"He brings an understanding of the game, which for a linebacker is very important because you have to be able to sort things out mentally and you have to be able to react to things, trust what you see and get after it," Coach Dana Holgorsen said.
There's a physical part, too, and it was on display on Kwiatkoski's first career forced fumble. He rumbled to the hole at 235 pounds, the product of determined weight lifting, calculated nutrition and a few late-night milkshakes.
The weight, about 10 pounds more than he carried last season, is enough to let him float around as a Sam linebacker in some situations and thump opponents in others, but it's also what he needs to absorb the contact that accumulates rapidly in the middle.
"I feel good where I'm at right now," he said. "What I feel are mostly bumps and bruises, but it's typical game soreness. I just need to keep eating what I eat and get good lifts in and I'll be fine."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1141. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.