Continuing on with our 100 day countdown to WVU’s season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide, we have reached day 65, the number once worn by WVU nose guard, Joe Jelich.
Jelich, a native of Ravenswood, WV, was a four year member of the WVU program, from 1975-1978. Jelich roamed the defensive line, recording 270 career tackles, along with 5 sacks, and 4 fumble recoveries.
In his freshman year, Jelich was a part of a team that went 8-3 in the regular season, and earned a bid to the 1975 Peach Bowl. The Mountaineers playing under then head coach, Bobby Bowden, won the contest over North Carolina State 13-10. The game was the final time Bowden was on the Mountaineers sideline, leaving for Florida State the next season.
Jelich’s sophomore year was spent playing under new head coach Frank Cignetti. The team failed to replicate the successes of the previous season, finishing with a disappointing 5-6 record. Losses included defeats to the likes of Boston College, Virginia Tech, Penn State, and the #1 ranked Pitt Panthers.
While the team’s record was equally disappointing with another 5-6 campaign in 1977, Jelich recorded his best season statistically with 96 tackles, along with 4 sacks and a fumble recovery.
Jelich would struggle most of his senior season as injuries limited him to just 46 tackles, 1 sack, and a fumble recovery. The season was the worst for him statistically, and the team finished with a 2-9 record, the team’s third straight losing season.
Jelich graduated from WVU in 1979. Although he never won any major awards, Jelich will go down as one of the more consistent defensive lineman the program has ever had. Most recently, Jelich spent a year coaching at his alma mater of Ravenswood High School, helping coach the offensive line.
All countdown profiles of numbers 100-66 are still available here at wvupros.com.