MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Mountaineer Field’s reputation for rowdiness precedes it, and tonight, when the iconic Texas Longhorns make their maiden visit, the cocktail of noise, 90-proof and disorderly conduct could create a memorable atmosphere.

“I’m just hoping they don’t burn the stadium down before the game,” joked a player from the home team, cornerback Icky Banks.

To be clear, Banks wasn’t daring the pyro-punks out there to turn Milan Puskar into a burning love seat (out-of-state kids, we’re profiling at you). No. 34 was simply bragging that the energy put out by 60,000 at WVU carries more wattage than the 100,000-plus generated last year in Austin.

“In Morgantown, the fans SHOW UP for those night games. Nothing like it—I don’t care what anybody says.”

During this mediocre season, night games at West Virginia have been a rarity. In fact, this is the very first. At 4-5 overall, and 2-4 in the Big 12, West Virginia simply hasn’t been deemed prime time-worthy. So the UT game arrives on a wave of surging anticipation and all-day tailgating that could have Texas walking into a stadium seemingly hopped up on Red Bull.

“I’m hoping it’s going to be crazy,” said senior center Pat Eger. “I’m hoping the student section’s going to fill up and be there for the start of the game. Haven’t seen it yet this year.”

If that sounds like Eger was calling out his fellow classmates, he sort of was.

“I’ve been in Morgantown for games where the student section has just been nuts, just vital to being our 12th man and wreaking havoc on those opposing teams,” he said. “When that thing fills up at the start of the game and the students stay the whole game, it’s huge for us. The atmosphere, it just heightens it to another level.”

Speaking of another level: Must WVU play on one in order to upset Texas?

Hardly.

As neat as UT’s five-game reclamation sounds, this isn’t the Vince Young-led bunch that snatched a crystal football or the Colt McCoy-led bunch that flirted with one. These 2013 Longhorns, lest we forget, needed a halftime Hail Mary and a last-second eyes-wide-shut officiating moment to eke past 1-7 Iowa State. Even with a win over Oklahoma, the combined record of the six teams UT has beaten this season is 18-33.

Yes, their recruiting classes are the envy of other Big 12 schools, but no player on the roster was a contributor the last time Texas sniffed a league championship. You wonder, on a chilly, raucous night in Morgantown, whether the Longhorns will maintain their current machismo or revert back to the panicky persona they showed in losses to BYU and Ole Miss.

Not to label this Texas team a fraud, but neither is it the unbeaten Big 12 champion being projected.

Pick: West Virginia 27-24

Rating the rest of the weekend’s Big 12 games:

1. Kansas State 31, Texas Tech 28: (Red Raiders -2.5) The Wildcats’ offense is growing more efficient at the same time Tech’s defense is being gashed.

2. Oklahoma State 45, Kansas 10: (Cowboys -30.5) The final score could be worse, but ain’t that always the case in a game against KU?

3. TCU 24, Iowa State 20: (Frogs -7) The Cyclones have seven losses, excluding themselves from the bowl chase, and TCU is on the verge of elimination as well.

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Comments

  • mark

    Our student section is lousy. They come in late, if at all, normally do not use their total allotment, and are too cool/sophisticated to actually stay for an entire game. Even during RR's best years, they were still iffy.

  • Mountaineer fanatic

    I can think of no better gift than for WVU to beat the Turkey out of Texas.

    LETS GOOOOOOOOOO


    MOUNTAINEERS

  • William

    What is John R gonna think about you picking the Mounties?

  • Tim C

    I smell some Texas Toast!

  • Eric

    I hoping for some good ol' Mountaineer magic tonight.

  • D.P.

    A win tonight can be a real jump start in getting the football program turned around!!!LET'S Goooooooooooooooooooooooooo MOUNTAINEERS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Alex

    I feel WVU can win this game if we get a fair shake from the officials.... I remember when Texas played Iowa State, Iowa State would have gotten credit for the win on the goal line the officials took that away from them and allowed Texas to win the game with very little time left.. There was controversy with the coach of Iowa State the next day , anybody who watched that game knows what I'm talking about , it was early in the season... I always heard if it's a close playTexas will it ( the call ) in their favor .... I hope it doesn't come down to anything like that.... Yes I am a homer but the officiating can have a lot to do with the results based upon when a penalty is called and what it is. I hope it turns out to be a good officiated game..

  • Lo boy

    Hopefully some of the positives carry over from the TCU game. Go EER's

  • wvrefugee

    I wonder where our AD will be sitting tonite???? Ha!

  • Daniel

    I would love to see this game as the one that turns the corner for our program. If WVU can put together a complete game, meaning offense, defense and special teams...Texas will have their hands full. Will that happen? Probably not! It should at least be interesting for the first half. Go 'Eers! I'm with you all the way...good, bad or ugly!

  • tw eagle

    i'm a little confused . . .NOW , they want the real fans to show up for the game ? the last couple of years the U has been trying to sell the BS tea sipping line of be quiet, be nice , we'll throw out the rowdies . . .a few times I've been stuck in sections that were more more interested in 'socializing' with the neighbors than with the game . . .one pitt game , these 'tea sippers' called a Statie to come down to tell me to stop cheering . . .I was making too much noise . . .

    I can see the conflict , the U wants the moola that these 'tea sippers' bring to the arena , but they want the energy and passion that actual fans bring to a contest . . .

    build more luxury boxes for the 'tea sippers' so that real fans , real people , who get emotionally involved in the contest don't interrupt the 'tea sippers' social outing . . .

  • Bobby M

    It was pretty CRAZY for KSTATE last year! Looks like all that crazy TALK doesnt mean much AT all!

  • Rick

    WVU Women in B12 Soccer Championship, Sun Nov 10 3:30PM FS1.
    WVU Mens BB off to good start, lets hope the football team keeps the streak alive tonight by sending those longhorns back to Texas with their horns up their...well you know...

    • J poss

      This old Texas Aggie girl from W. Virginia hopes you guys get rowdy and as Aggies say, "Beat the Hell Outa Texas!"
      Go Mountaineers!!