Allan Taylor/MetroNews

Amid 90-degree afternoon heat, Oklahoma Memorial Stadium was prepped on Friday for West Virginia’s arrival.


NORMAN, Okla. — On what projects to be a steamy night at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, here are three improbable (but not impossible) paths that could propel West Virginia to an upset of the No. 16 Sooners:

1. Sooners slip-ups.
Dana Holgorsen entertained a question this week as to whether WVU needed to play a perfect game to beat Oklahoma. “To ask our guys, especially those who are inexperienced, to play a perfect game—that’s impossible,” he said.

The more salient question might be: How imperfect does Oklahoma need to be? Two turnovers? Three?

Trevor Knight flashed some dual-threat audacity against Louisiana-Monroe, but in the early stages he hardly looked refined as a thrower, misfiring on swing passes and generally lacking touch. His lone interception came on a well-thrown deep ball that receiver Trey Metoyer lost in a rollover to ULM safety Cordero Smith. Don’t fault Knight on that one—but remember he was fortunate earlier in the game when Smith dropped an interception in the end zone.

If West Virginia can pluck a couple of the freshman’s errant passes, then Oklahoma could be saddled with another home loss in the fashion of last year’s costly fumbles against K-State.

2. WVU unveils new firepower.
While there’s no excusing the offense that lurched to a 24-point output against William & Mary last week, West Virginia was within a few eyelashes of scoring 40 points. (Settling for a field goal after Charles Sims was tripped up at the 5. Paul Millard overshooting Ivan McCartney on a deep route. Mario Alford dropping a slant route that would have left him isolated on a safety.)

Alford in particular offers interesting upside in Week 2, working in the slot against OU’s man coverage.

“You can watch his tape from juco and tell why we recruited the kid,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. “He was banged up for about two weeks and we kept saying over and over,’This kid is not playing as fast as he can play.’ But he kept telling us, ‘Coach, my toe’s hurting. I can’t run.’

“Well, I think his toe’s healthy right now because he’s running fast. This week was by far his best week of preparation and his best week of running.”

And then there’s the prospect of outside receiver Kevin White making his first appearance, perhaps matching up against Aaron Colvin just as Stedman Bailey did last season.

3. The Mountaineers defense finds its 11th guy.
Holgorsen and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson lamented WVU played with 10 guys on a few crucial snaps against William & Mary, claiming that a lone busted assignment led to several big gains.

“You can say we played pretty well on defense with the exception of three plays,” Holgoorsen said. “Well, three plays made us look really bad in the second quarter. If you want to say we were good on defense with the exception of three plays, those three plays gave them 17 points, which is way too many.”

If indeed WVU came that close to a satisfactory effort, there’s a chance the defense could close the gap in Week 2.

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  • cutty77

    First of all WVU is going to run the Ball all season long. The Sooners have trouble stoping the run to. Plus Coach Neheln,and Son In Law Jeff fly out with the Team. Don't under sell This Team. They know its not William & Mary. WVU always does well at night. You gotta Believe, Brother.

    • bva24

      This O-Line couldn't contain W&M, but they'll whip OU's front?


  • ware1960

    I grew up in the 60's, have been a WV fan almost as long as I've been a Dallas Cowboys fan. I went to school out of state, live out of state, and at least twice a year, make it back to WV for a home game and attend at least one away game, because "I LOVE MY "EER'S!" A true fan is allowed to be disgusted with his team, but he also loves his team through the great years and the bad. Do I think we are going to win today? You bet I do!!! Do we have the best team on the planet? You bet we do!!! I say that ever year because I believe in what we are trying to do. After the game, if we lose, we lost to a superior team, if we win, we were the superior team I knew in my heart that we are. The great thing about these articles, is that they give fans the chance to show the love we have for our teams. If there was no love there, no one would read the articles anyway. Thanks for the opportunity Allan!

    • Cliff w


      • Dave


  • J.R. Skene


  • EPR

    All jokes and trolling aside, I hope for a win tonight, but I'm not counting on it... If we lose, fine. I just want the team to be competitive... Show light at the end of the tunnel. Don't let it be a blowout..

    • Bobby M

      DONT FORGET! IF we can win this game were due for a possible TRAP game against Georgia because we'll be riding high and mighty and PROBABLY lose focus in camp during the week AND you've already seen how poorly WE play against NCAA DIV 2 teams!

      I'm PSYCHED OUT and ready SOONER now OR later!

      Rock N ROLL RUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bim

    This is a good article but the potential path has the same odds as me winning the lottery.
    1. I get in car.
    2. I go to Go-Mart
    3. I buy lottery ticket
    I WIN!!

    • Redford


  • tw eagle

    well , I ' ve got no reason not to call out cook on his dismal play against w&m . . .one more bad week and malik greaves loses his redshirt . . .is Dillon ready to step up into first team reps . . .hopefully cook decides to work
    for and with his teammates . . .
    Let's Ggoooo Mountaiinneeerrrsss ! ! !

  • Rick

    Did someone hit a nerve on these comments or what. I too have been a 'eer for many long years, some good, a few bad but all in all I have never seen a coaching staff this poor, ineffective and emotion-less. No recruiting to speak of. JUCO's don't do the program any good and thats what we have here. The Big12 is high-powered offense and enough defense to put out a win. We have neither. Maybe Holgerson was holding back, not wanting to show OU what weapons he has saved for them...maybe but my money says different. Holgerson and for that matter Luck have outlived their usefulness here and its time for a change...As far as this season, I'd like to see a winning season but I'd like them to at least cover the far it's 0-1.

    • Ricardo

      I'm about as optimistic as they get, and even I have to agree with the emotional level of at least part of the staff. I would love to see a pregame speach from Holgorsen.

      However, I do think he is getting recruiting back on track. You have to recall, we had about 3 years of poor recruiting before Holgorsen came.

      All-in-All, we will be back on top, just not this year.

    • Luke

      Watch yourself Rick. Criticism of the coaching staff even for making excuses for winning by a slim margin and disparaging the skill and effort of the opponent will bring out the opinion police.

      It is funny how a guy who was a WR at Iowa Wesleyan is so quick to disparage the skill and effort of W & M's McBride who stands a reasonable chance of getting to play in the NFL.

      • bva24

        Holgorsen might be the most overrated coach in D1 football.

  • wvajoker

    I hold no degrees from WVU and none of my immediate family does either. We hold no degrees from any other school of higher learning. My parents were not fortunate enough to even get a high school education. I grew up in the fifties listening to WVU sports on the radio with my grandparents. I dare say that I have been a Mountaineer fan since before you were born Sonny Boy. I have been around when the Mounties kicked some big butts and I have been around when the got there butts kicked, but I have never been around when I wasn't optimistic enough to think they cannot kick the butts of anyone. You, sir, and yes I was around when "sir was used to address someone", are just a fair weather Mountaineer fan.

    • Luke

      Wrong again. But you keep on rooting for WVU as will I.

      I'm not a prognosticator, I watch the games to see how they turn out. Anyone who has been a Mountaineer fan for the 60+ years that I have knows better than to expect victory every time they play or to think that WVU won't disappoint you somewhere along the way. That's just the way it is.

      You can go around with your index finger extended and proclaim WVU is number 1, but that isn't for me. So have at it but don't come here whining when that doesn't work out for you.

    • JR

      Nice job wvajoker!!!!! Its nice to think about holding the winning lottery ticket in your hand and dream about what you would do if you won, then the numbers come out and you go back to reality. Until the final seconds tick off in the game tonight I believe WVU will win, there is no doubt. Everytime that we are given no chance to win, by the pollsters, the media, and the fans something stirs us up and a WVU comes out on top.

  • Shadow

    Persy Shelley: "Hope springs eternal from the human breast." A wise phrase that keeps us going.

  • ron "from morgantown"

    I hope we win , but we won't . We arnt going to find anything new on offense and our D will wilt in the heat .Actually, I just hope we look respectable and avoid any injuries . Our band will put on a better show than our team , Oklahoma 39 , WVU 16 . This isn't 1982 and Paul M isn't Jeff H.

    • Joe Cool

      This isn't Alabama either. This isn't even a top 10 team. Throw in a freshman QB. I don't know why everyone thinks there's no chance in this game.

  • Charlie

    Oklahoma 63 -WVU 0

    • Jeremy

      I'll take the 63 Charlie ......I'll even take 24!!!! Ur an idiot Charlie!

    • Luke

      Be careful Charlie, the wannabe Mountaineers will accuse you of being disloyal.

  • Little Bill

    Did you stay in Huntington last night or are you driving in today. You are GREEN with envy.

    • Luke

      I hold two degrees from WVU as did each of my immediate family. I was a Mountaineer Fan long before you were spawned sonny boy.

      I'm sorry W & M was better than you thought they were, which ought to tell you something about your knowledge of sports.

  • Luke

    "Three busted assignments"? WVU's coaching is almost as good as its grammar.

    On the first catch by McBride, he caught the ball despite the defender having his arms wrapped around his waist well ahead of the arrival of the ball and no interference call by the official.

    McBride's second catch came despite great coverage by the defender.

    The field goal, which came after the W & M QB elected to throw the ball into the end zone rather than run it down to at least the 5, was produced after W & M's 3 man rush got to Millard and knocked the ball loose.

    The fact is W & M wasn't over matched against WVU, so deal with it don't make excuses.

    • Wvualum

      I'm confused on the grammar problem? Lets break it down. "Three" is a numerical number starting the sentence follow by a verb.."what did they do?" They "busted" followed by "what did they bust?" The "assignment." I am confused. If you are going to talk bad about the mountaineers and especially on something EXTREMELY petty, then at least get it correct.

      Fair weather fans make me sick.

      Lets GO Mountaineers!!

    • David

      You can turn you fan ticket in at any time!

  • joe

    And.... Thanks for the article Allan. Hopefully all 3 of those things happen. Also I hope that Kevin White is healthy and able to play. I believe we have some serious talent and it would be nice to get him in the mix.

    • William

      @Allan - WAKE UP, because you are dreaming!

      • Ryan

        Go back to bed, Little Bill.

    • EPR

      Actually there is a serious lack o. Talent on the team. That coupled with a poor coaching staff and that is the recipe for why this is going to be a very long season.

  • joe

    Allan Taylor working around the clock... Not sure if I'm the first to read, but let me be the first to comment....

    Let's GOOO.... Mountaineers!!!