Morgantown, W. VA. – On Tuesday afternoon, West Virginia head football coach Neal Brown met with members of the West Virginia media ahead of Saturday’s game versus the Oklahoma Sooners. The Mountaineers are coming off a bye week while the Sooners are traveling to Morgantown after a statement victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Norman.
Coach Brown is well aware of the challenge that awaits his team Saturday night in Morgantown. The Sooners have long been the at the top of the Big 12 conference, and are hitting their stride just in time for a trip to Morgantown.
“Huge challenge for us on Saturday . . . I think Oklahoma’s coming in playing their best football.”
It is well-documented that the Mountaineers have not won against Oklahoma since the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and Brown is looking for his team to make a statement win during the team’s first night game since 2018. Saturday’s game will be Coach Brown’s first night game as head coach in Morgantown as well, and the head coach is really looking forward to the game.
“It’s a tremendous challenge and opportunity for us,” Brown pointed out. “Oklahoma has set the standard in the league . . . I hope our fans show up and create a great atmosphere.”
Brown went on to discuss Oklahoma’s ability to score fast and early in their games, an issue for their opponents when the Sooners continue to rack up points. Falling behind early against the Sooners is a concern for any team they play, and Brown knows it. It’s an issue they have tried to prepare for while at the same time not stress the players out too much over, stating “You do your best to prepare for that as a coach, but you don’t make to big of a deal out of it to your players.”
The bye week last week was mostly used for the team’s rest and recovery, with three short practice days. After playing five games in five weeks, Brown’s crew needed some time to recover and get ready for the last two challenges ahead, Oklahoma and then Iowa State. Brown’s focus has shifted to Oklahoma preparations this week, knowing that it’s been an uphill battle against the Sooners on all three sides of the ball, highlighting the punt blocking skills in Norman. “We’ve got to be prepared. They blocked a punt versus us last year. They blocked a punt versus Texas.”
Saturday’s night game is a topic many have discussed throughout the season, and what better time to have a night game than with one of the top teams in the conference coming to town. Despite the smaller crowd, Brown hopes fans show up and make the stadium feel as those it’s packed with 60,000 fans.
Brown said on Saturday’s game, “There’s something about playing under the lights that gets your adrenaline going a little more . . . In a normal situation, Mountaineer Field would be rockin’ and rollin’. Hopefully, with a limited capacity, we can still make it sound like 60,000.”
Coach Brown is probably the most-aware of the challenge ahead of his team days following Thanksgiving. The Mountaineers have yet to beat the Sooners since joining the Big 12, a feat that has proven year after year to be insurmountable. A win on Saturday would be a statement win for Brown’s tenure in West Virginia, as well as a much-needed bright spot for Mountaineer fans during a year of such ups and downs.
The Mountaineers take on the Sooners Saturday, November 28 with a 7:30 ET kickoff on ABC.