MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–One team has everything on the line Saturday afternoon but the other has nothing to lose when West Virginia takes on Oklahoma.
The Mountaineers are coming off a disappointing loss to Texas, where starting quarterback Will Grier suffered a broken hand and dislocated finger.
For the fourth-ranked Sooners, a loss on Saturday ends their hopes at a spot in the College Football Playoff. However, nothing is at stake for WVU.
“I can’t remember the last time we’ve been in this situation,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “What do we have to lose, you know? Let’s go play ball, let’s have fun, let’s rally around (redshirt sophomodre quarterback) Chris Chugunov let’s play our tail off. This season changes drastically if we can go win this one. Nobody expects us to win, everybody gets that. They’re a great team.
“I still think we have some pretty capable football players that are going to rally around that quarterback, who might be pretty dang good, and go out there and cut it loose and have some fun. Let’s go play some ball, man. When you get an opportunity to go play football this week against that team, you should be pretty jacked up about it.”
Heading into his first career start, Chugunov has been told to just go have fun.
“We really don’t have anything to lose,” offensive coordinator Jake Spavital said. “That is what I have been telling Chugs all week. Go out there, cut it loose and have some fun. How many guys get to say that their first career start is going to be versus probably the No. 2 team in the country right now? Go out there, cut it loose and have some fun and see if we can kind of spoil them and mess up the rankings a little bit more.”
In the locker room, the Mountaineers know their role on Saturday.
“We know where our role is as in where our 13th game is going to be,” offensive lineman Colton McKivitz said. “Now it is kind of the role of we can do something special and be that underdog. West Virginia, that is kind of built into the program. We are all underdogs and we come out fighting. That’s a big message this week.”
In previous years, WVU has flourished in the underdog role. In 2007, the Mountaineers defeated the Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl.
Five years later, WVU topped Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
Those games had more on the line than this one. But Pitt did knock off No. 3 Miami on Friday afternoon. Anything is possible.
“(We have) nothing to lose,” wide receiver Ka’Raun White said. “We are just going to give it our all. Just go out there and have fun and hopefully get a win.”
Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS