MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As most West Virginia fans are sitting down for their Thanksgiving feasts, the Mountaineers themselves will be en route to Texas for Friday afternoon’s season finale at TCU.

Neal Brown made sure his team didn’t miss out on the spirit of the holiday despite the travel plans spoiling everyone’s chances at a family meal. Players had group dinners with their position coaches on Tuesday night, and the team gathered for their own Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday.

“This is one of my favorite weeks of the year,” Brown said. “A lot of guys want to be NFL players. They get a peek at the lifestyle. Students are gone. There are no classes. It’s football all week. We’re going to be intentional about enjoying this.”

Senior left tackle Colton McKivitz is not looking for anyone’s sympathy regarding his missed Thanksgiving Day. He sees no better way to spend it since he sees it as making up for lost time.

“Football wasn’t a big thing for me on Thanksgiving until high school and now. It was more spend time with the family and enjoy the outdoors,” McKivitz said. “Of course it’s been football the past five years. Coach Brown said if you’re still practicing Thanksgiving week in high school you’re pretty good, but I didn’t get to experience that. Football and Thanksgiving go pretty well together, so it’s been pretty nice [in college].”

The caliber of meals have certainly improved from the days when McKivitz would go hunting with his dad to bag the turkey that would eventually end up on the table.

“Sometimes we’d go the traditional route and whack our own turkey,” McKivitz said. “It’s not as good as the Butterball, though. It’s a little gamey.”

On a day of heavy eating, MetroNews has decided to provide you with some light reading. Here’s what McKivitz and his Mountaineer teammates had to say about their favorite Thanksgiving foods.

Colton McKivitz

Favorite side dish

Corn and mashed potatoes. You’ve got to mix them, though.

“With gravy?”

I’m not a gravy guy. I’m kind of a picky eater. But you can’t tell.

Rex Sunahara

On McKivitz’s stance against gravy

I see him eat when we’re on the road. I think he’s an anti-sauce guy. He doesn’t even get marinara.

Favorite side dish

I’m a stuffing guy. I love it.

Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen [my grandparents] make it. I know it’s bread. And there’s some celery in there or something. But it’s delicious. I don’t know how they make it, but it is really good.

Keith Washington

On McKivitz hunting turkeys

That’s a little different than where I was at. Colton was raised a little different than me out there in the woods. I don’t know what he’s talking about.

Favorite dishes

I like sweet potato pie. I’m a honey-baked ham guy over turkey.

T.J. Simmons

On his favorite side dish and pre-Thanksgiving feast

Mac and cheese. But then you’ve got to have red velvet cake for after. I’ve got it all at the crib right now. Mac and cheese, dressing, candied yams, ham, turkey, red velvet cake, sweet potato pies, brownies. My mama hooked it up when she came up here.