This Saturday marks game one for the West Virginia Mountaineers and the 2018 football season. The Mountaineers will face the SEC’s Tennessee Volunteers in the Belk College Kickoff game at the Carolina Panthers stadium, September 1 at 3:30.
Not only is Saturday’s matchup between the two teams the season opener for both, but it is also the first time the two will face off against one another.
Every game that is played has consequences, but there is a lot on the line for both teams going into this season. For the Volunteers, Tennessee is coming off of a losing record, going 4-8 during the 2017 season, and 0-8 in conference play. The Vols are also under the guidance of new head coach Jeremy Pruitt following his time as Alabama’s defensive coordinator. The Volunteers football program has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the last few seasons, now looking to the guidance of Pruitt to bring the program back toward the upswing.
For the Mountaineers, there is a goal in mind for the 2018 season. The Mountaineers unfortunately fell short on their 2017 season goals following the loss of Will Grier from his season-ending injury. The Mountaineers are looking to leave a lasting impression with the 2018 season, first goal being a trip to Texas in December, coming home the Big 12 conference champions. That would just be the start of a sweet post-season for West Virginia.
The first game of the season is always full of emotions and nerves, maybe more so when the team is playing at a “neutral site” mere hours away from the opponent’s home field. For the Mountaineers, playing an SEC opponent, whom they have never gone up against, is a challenge. For the Volunteers, a new head coach and coming off of a losing record year provides a steel uphill mountain to climb.
The Mountaineers have the mentality of taking each game one week at a time, one win at a time. Hopefully early evening Saturday in Charlotte, the Mountaineers will have achieved that first goal of the season, conquering the SEC’s Volunteers.