By CJ Harvey @CJ_Harvey7
September 11, 1982, Norman, Oklahoma; it is ninety-eight degrees; two great football teams walked on the scorching hot turf, and only one walked off happy. Entering from the left side of the stadium a sea of crimson, red players emerged, ready to play. From the other side a mirage of gold and blue players left the locker room together, all following behind their coach, Don Nehlan. On that day a miracle struck as the world watched Don Nehlen’s unranked West Virginia Mountaineers travel to Owen Field at Memorial Stadium to take on Berry Switzer’s ninth ranked Oklahoma Sooners. In front of 75,008 people those mighty Mountaineers took down the highly favored Sooner’s. Now fast forward to 2013, because on September 7 those same boys from the hills will be traveling to Norman, Oklahoma. Starting the season West Virginia will be unranked, and the Sooner’s will most likely be ranked inside the top 15; this year’s WVU team will be huge underdogs. Luckily, history always repeats itself and the Mountaineers will keep their undefeated record in Norman. Here is why West Virginia is going to upset Oklahoma, again.
The 1982 Mountaineers started their season with many questions. Was Don Nehlan going to have these kids ready as he entered his third season? Would the team be able to utilize their large number of backs and receivers? How was the offense going to fair with a transfer quarterback, after losing their All-Conference quarterback, Oliver Luck the season before?
The 2013 Mountaineers have the same questions. Don Nehlan was beginning his third year as the Mountaineers head football coach. Dana Holgorsen is now going into his third season with West Virginia as head coach. Nehlan and Holgorsen are more similar than you would think as well. Both left larger schools as Quarterbacks/Assistant Coaches to become the Head Coach at West Virginia. Both won “program changing games” very early with the team. Nehlan beat Florida in the Peach Bowl, and Holgorsen beat Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
The 1982 team had a vast number of players who were waiting to become stars. Curlin Beck and King Harvey were speedy backs with good vision, almost like both 2013 senior backs Andrew Buie and Charles Simms. Darrell Miller and Rich Hollins were both growing receivers waiting to have their shot. KJ Myers and Kevin White are in the same boat here in 2013.
The most fascinating similarity involves the quarterbacks. In 1982 the greatest Mountaineer quarterback, at that time, had just graduated. Oliver Luck was considered one the of best to play in a West Virginia uniform, and was gone, but a transfer from Penn State had joined the team and was going to takeover at the helm of the offense. Jeff Hostetler did not play much at Penn State, but was going to over for the Mountaineers. The same situation is taking place now. Geno Smith, possibly the greatest quarterback to wear a West Virginia uniform is gone, and a transfer quarterback is going to takeover the helm of the offense. Clint Trickett, like Hostetler, did not play much at Florida State, but has the talent to succeed.
The game in 2013 will be four days before the thirty-first anniversary of the game in 1982, and in my opinion the stars will be lining up for a “Mountaineer Miracle” come September 7.