MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Night games are always something special in Morgantown. Coming off a disappointing 37-20 loss to Oklahoma State, it could be just what the West Virginia University football team needs.
“Night games are fun,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Haven’t had one. What game is this, eight? Is this eight? So, I think it will be good. Like I said I think it’s good to change routine every now and then. I know Mountaineer Nation gets fired up about night games, so I know our players will too. Good time for that.”
For the players and the fans, nothing is more exciting than a night game at Milan Puskar Stadium.
“Definitely doesn’t get any better than that,” senior safety Jarrod Harper said. “We’ve been waiting for a night game all season, this Saturday will be an opportunity to go out and play under the lights. We’re definitely ready for that and can’t wait.”
The first night game of the season makes it all the more special.
“A night game in Morgantown is always special,” senior linebacker Justin Arndt said. “It’s the first of the year so it’s definitely always a memorable moment when we play at night. It’s a great experience and a great opportunity.”
Mountaineer fans always come out in full force for prime time games. This season has given fans a lot to cheer about so far.
“I think that it is going to be exciting,” redshirt freshman linebacker David Long said. “I know the fans are going to come out here and make it loud, cheer us on, and we’ll try to get another win.”
While most WVU players are excited to play under the lights, one believes it will have the Mountaineers fully rested and ready to go.
“I am going to treat it just like every other game,” sophomore wide receiver Jovon Durante said. “Night game, morning game, 3 o’clock game, I am going to treat it the same as any other game. But I feel like a night game; we are going to be well rested and everything so we are going to come out with a lot of intensity. I feel like having a 7 o’clock game will be good for us.”
While this game is a nice change of pace for WVU, Kansas is looking to snap a 40-game losing streak on the road on national television.
The Jayhawks sport a 1-7 record but are slowly improving under second-year head coach David Beatty.
“One thing that you’ll see on their team more than anything is the amount of energy that they play with, so we have to get out there and start fast if we want to get accomplished what we want to accomplish in this game,” Holgorsen said.
Kansas has the fewest penalty yards in the Big 12 with 45.6 yards per game, which is an improvement from last season.
Junior quarterback Montell Cozart and Steven Simms have teamed up to give the Jayhawks some life to their air game.
“Have a couple of difference making receivers,” Holgorsen said. “(Steven) Simms, a little kid out of Houston, is doing some good things as well. It will be a good challenge for us defensively.”
Cozart has tossed for 951 yards and seven touchdowns and was at the reigns when Kansas defeated the Mountaineers in 2013.
However, Cozart has thrown eight interceptions, which could play in WVU’s favor.
“Up to this point I think we are number one in about every category in the Big 12 on defense, so I’m happy with where we are at,” defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said.” Being the defensive coach, I think whether it is conference titles, national titles, whatever it may be, that’s the way you win championships. We’re not talking about that in our building. That’s a long way away. We have to be able to beat Kansas, so we have to prepare to get ourselves ready to go.”
Expect the Mountaineers to come out fired up and prepared to get the job done under the lights in front of a rowdy fan base.
Cover Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS