Thursday, October 23, 2003
Big win has West Virginia thinking about turnaround
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Brian King and Lance Frazier had all
day to lounge around before West Virginia's night game with No. 3
Virginia Tech. So the Mountaineer teammates dreamed up this
scenario: They'd beat their ranked opponent by 21 points.
"We just said, 'Why not? Why can't we get a major, 21-point
convincing win over a top team?" King recalled. "There must have
been something in the air, because 21 points it was."
West Virginia's 28-7 win over Virginia Tech on Wednesday night
has the Mountaineers confident they can turn around a season that
until now was filled with mistakes and the short side of close
"It's nice to be on the good end," West Virginia coach Rich
Rodriguez said. "Our guys like challenges. You say we could have
or should have, but we are very close to being undefeated in the
Big East this year."
A win by Virginia Tech (6-1, 2-1 Big East) over first-place
Miami (7-0, 3-0) on Nov. 1 would further tighten the conference
West Virginia (3-4, 2-1) still needs three wins in its final
five games to become bowl eligible.
That might be within reach if the Mountaineers play the rest of
their games the way they dominated Virginia Tech, the
highest-ranked team West Virginia has ever beaten.
West Virginia minimized Tech's biggest weapons, turned two
first-half turnovers into scores and roughed up the Big East's top
defense for 426 yards.
Virginia Tech never crossed midfield in the second half en route
to its worst defeat since a 38-7 loss to Pittsburgh on Nov. 3,
"There were blue shirts everywhere. We just swarmed," said
King, who had two interceptions in the game. "The whole key in
shutting down wide receivers is getting pressure. The game plan
allowed us to worry about ourselves and not Tech."
After the game, rowdy football fans set fires in the streets. No
one was seriously injured but there were several arrests.
This week, Rodriguez left messages on students' answering
machines, taped a video shown on the football field scoreboard and
made other requests for fans to act responsibly at the nationally
Earlier this month, the university disciplined three students
who participated in similar post-game mayhem after the
Mountaineers' loss to Miami.
Next up for West Virginia is a Nov. 1 meeting at home with
Mid-American Conference member Central Florida (2-5).
The Mountaineers' final four games are at Boston College, home
against Pittsburgh, at Syracuse and home against Temple, which
prompted King to conjure up more scenarios.
"We run the table, we win the Big East -- if we get help from
Tech next week against Miami," he said.