MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The last two William & Mary teams haven’t been very successful, not even by FCS standards, but within the past nine seasons the Tribe has twice reached the Division I-AA semifinals.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

William & Mary nearly shocked Maryland in the 2012 opener, only to lose 7-6.

And then, of course, there was that monumental upset of Notre Dame.

OK, so the only football fans who actually remember that upset were West Virginia safety Darwin Cook and his brother, who, in their boredom, built William & Mary into a major-college juggernaut … on the “NCAA Football 2006” video game.

Why two kids from Cleveland, Ohio, would turn their controllers toward the colonial campus in Williamsburg, Va., speaks to how kooky the guy nicknamed “Cookie” can be. But the brothers each took two positions on offense and defense, built their player grades up to 99 and let Cinderella make magic with the thumbstick.

“We put us in an independent conference, like Notre Dame,” Cook recalled. “We scheduled all the hard teams, beat ’em all and went to the national championship.”

The real-life Tribe stunned Virginia 26-14 in 2009, and last year’s 2-9 squad lost 7-6 at Maryland. So West Virginia’s players have been amply forewarned about the embarrassment potential of taking Saturday’s opponent lightly. FCS teams won a record 10 games against FBS schools last season, and since Appalachian State’s unforgettable takedown of Michigan in 2007, programs such as Virginia Tech, Pitt, Ole Miss, Minnesota and Oregon State have been ambushed by teams with 22 fewer scholarships.

“Do we want to be the next ones on that list? I don’t think so,” said WVU coach Dana Holgorsen on Tuesday. “We want to take these guys serious.”

And serious is how redshirt freshman center Tyler Orlosky sounded when he said: “It’s not about who’s better, it’s about who’s better on Saturday.”

The Mountaineers are 10-0 all-time against I-AA teams, including a 42-12 victory over James Madison last season in Landover, Md.

“I’ll be honest with you, we probably took James Madison too lightly, though we came out with a win,” admitted linebacker Jared Barber. “We definitely could have prepared better. So we’re taking this game as if we’re playing Oklahoma or Texas.”

While Cook still beams about his video game glory days with the Tribe, the senior can’t comprehend how WVU could overlook any team on its schedule.

“I could see if we went 10-3 or 12-0 last year, but when you go 7-6 , you ain’t thinking about nobody but yourself and trying to get better,” he said. “There’s no point to take another team lightly when everyone is taking us lightly.”

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  • ShinnstonGuy

    I once took Vanderbilt to the Final Four and won the title in NCAA basketball. I imagine "Cookie" had a lot of fun with the Tribe!

    • Rob

      Cool story bro

  • J Rock

    Last year I went to a TCU game and as the players ran unto the field and came to the bench they were fired up having a great time! To me that is a part of the college experience I want my son and daughter to enjoy. But before they were through celebrating a guy in the row in front of me started yelling, you F'ing suck your all just a bunch of losers. Kids that are just trying to play ball, go to school, and learn to be good people. He had a wvu hat and wore wvu colors. I dealt with the problem face to face with the bum. I tell you this you may have your opinion and may be free to express it, but understand these kids don't deserve your abuse. You wouldn't allow anyone to talk about you kids that way. If you want to be a fan then act like one or go find a team you can cheer for... We don't need you here!

    • Maxxajay

      @J Rock ... Agree ...well said

    • WVAtty

      Well, I guess that puts Mr Eagle in his place.

      • tw eagle

        ooohh , and what place is that ?

    • PM VA

      J Rock - Very well said. 100% agree. Win or lose always a Mountaineer.

  • Maxxajay

    WVU is flying under the radar.. Nine and three this year....

  • tw eagle

    too bad mr cook can't focus that well while playing football for WVU . . .hopefully you play steady enough that coach Holgerson
    doesn't have to pull Malik Greaves redshirt to replace you ... a good possibility from your past track record of on field results.

    • Chet Ubetcha

      He had a bad year give the guy a break. I remember Keith Tandy had a few really bad stretches and he is now playing in the NFL with the best in the world. Last year was a major adjustment for all, so relax