MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Not that West Virginia’s players were likely to forget last season’s 49-14 upset loss at Texas Tech, or the field-storming ruckus that followed, but coach Dana Holgorsen apparently is making sure the memory stays fresh.
A sea of Red Raiders fans poured onto the turf at AT&T Stadium that homecoming, making it difficult for the No. 5-ranked Mountaineers to exit the scene of what started a five-game losing streak.
“Coach Holgorsen’s been showing us that video every day,” said senior nose guard Shaq Rowell, who recalled wading through the mob on his way back to the visitors’ locker room.
“We almost had to fight some of their fans to get back. A cop said, ‘If you don’t feel safe, swing.'”
And that order, according to Rowell, came from a Lubbock cop.
“They beat us, and they enjoyed their victory,” Rowell said. “But I was ready to defend myself, let’s put it that way.”
Icky Banks wasn’t among the starting cornerbacks that afternoon when Texas Tech compiled 513 yards passing and 686 overall. But he saw action on special teams and within two weeks became a starter after the Red Raiders sent WVU into a midseason spiral.
“I got caught up in (the postgame), and it kind of hurt you when they’re out there all happy and celebrating,” Banks said. “That was an experience—I can say that. I just wanted to go to the bus and go home.
“That loss was a big one that kind of knocked us off our high horse and we kind of went downhill from there.”
It’s hard to miss the 180-degree reversal of this year’s matchup, which finds No. 16 Texas Tech (6-0, 3-0) unbeaten and serving as West Virginia’s homecoming opponent. The game is slated for a noon kickoff in Morgantown.
Though linebacker Jared Barber guards against dwelling on past games, the sophomore acknowledged: “Absolutely we have a chip on our shoulder from last year—they did embarrass us.”
Added Mountaineers quarterback Paul Millard, who remains a contender to start this week’s game: “We’re looking forward to playing Saturday and hopefully doing what they did to us last year.”