The Mountaineers weren't getting sacks or pressure in recent games as often as they were earlier in the season, but they weren't entirely healthy, either.
Backup nose guard Christian Brown was lost for the season early on and that pulled Rose inside from time to time to spell Shaq Rowell. Hyman sprained an ankle and missed the Kansas State game and barely played against TCU.
Coincidence intervened, though, because the Horned Frogs turned out to be the perfect opponent for WVU and for Nwachukwu. The Mountaineers decided weeks ago to make the most of his talent this season by simplifying his role and asking him to focus on playing off an offensive guard's outside shoulder. He wouldn't be asked to line up directly across from anyone, like Clarke so often does, or inside, like Kinsey can do on passing downs.
WVU was turning Nwachukwu into a pass rusher. He was given one assignment for one situation and he went to work.
"I've always had confidence in my pass rush," he said. "I feel like that's my strength since I'm a littler defensive lineman. But I feel like if I've got a one-on-one, I can win. I'm faster than anyone I'm going to line up against."
As fate would have it, the Mountaineers knew that Hyman would again not be himself and that TCU would have to pass in spite of its awful running game. They then discovered that TCU never, ever double-team the opponent who lined up the way Nwachukwu had been practicing. It would be a game full of one-on-one matchups for Nwachukwu.
"I knew I was going to have a big game," he said.
He was a menace, a part of the cumulative effect that helped hit Pachall 21 times and rattled him from the first pass of the game that was tipped and intercepted to the last pass in overtime that sailed out of bounds as he was hit while rolling right on third-and-30.
"He's probably the most explosive guy I've got," Slaughter said. "He's very talented, but his deal is consistency, like any young guy. We've done a good job using him in certain situations where he can be effective against the pass or spread situations with certain personnel on the field, and he took advantage of it.
"Noble's got the ability to do that all the time. Whether he does or not is what makes him fun to watch."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.