MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–One loss doesn’t define a football season, unless a team lets that loss defeat their hopes and dreams.
That is not what the West Virginia University football team plans on doing.
Last Saturday, the Mountaineers fell in Stillwater 37-20 to Oklahoma State, suffering their first loss of the season.
But the Mountaineers refuse to let that determine who they are.
“We just got to know there is a lot more football to be played,” senior safety Jarrod Harper said. “One loss isn’t going to dictate our season, what this season has in store for us. We just got to regroup and come back this week and have a strong performance this week. Just be focused and locked in all week. Just get even more familiar with our opponent this week and come ready to play Saturday.”
With a new week, comes a new approach to things.
“If we win we put it behind us,” fullback Elijah Wellman said. “It’s on to the next game. If we lose it’s the same thing. You can’t look at the loss behind you and have that affect you this week. It’s a new week and we are trying to be 1-0 this week.”
The loss to the Cowboys was disappointing but WVU is ready to move on to Kansas and the task at hand.
“Were disappointed in losing there’s no question, that’s unfortunate,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “We were how close to having a couple losses earlier in the year, so it’s not the end of the world. If you pin your whole season off of one loss then there’s going to be 99 percent disappointed people across the country. It’s college football, it happens, what you have to do is you have to use it as motivation to go out there and practice harder and prepare harder and go out and have the understanding that you have to be playing at the best of your ability every single week.
“Oklahoma State is a good football team and they were 5-2, so their motivation level looked to me a little higher than ours, as opposed to us being motivated and going out and playing for some revenge and playing real hard, we’re the ones being hunted at that point when you get to that situation. You can’t let it affect the next game, you have to regroup, you have to prepare hard, you have to practice hard. I know our guys want to win. I know they want to get out there. This group likes each other, they like playing, they like practicing and that’s what we’ll do on Saturday.”
The Mountaineers don’t believe it was getting caught up in the hype of their success but instead being outplayed by their opponent.
WVU turned the ball over three times, leading to 17 points by the Cowboys.
“I don’t think there was really pressure,” senior linebacker Justin Arndt said. “Oklahoma State was a good team and you can tell, they won. They executed better than us. I have no doubt in my mind that everybody else on this team wanted to win that game, wasn’t really caught up in the hype. I thought we prepared well. It’s just moving on and preparing for the next game.”
Now the upperclassmen must keep everyone focused on the goal at hand rather than the loss on paper.
“The seniors, we know there is a lot more football to play,” Harper said. “We just got to stay focused. Keep the young guys on board and let them know that everything is going to be alright. We got a lot of football to play. We got a lot to play for. We’re just ready to go out and redeem ourselves and come out Saturday and put up a good show and play a solid game on all three sides of the ball.”
The Big 12 Championship is still within reach for the Mountaineers. Baylor lost last week to Texas, leaving Oklahoma the only unbeaten team in the conference.
But the Sooners have yet to play WVU in Morgantown, meaning the goal is still very much alive for the Mountaineers.
“It’s about what we do,” Arndt said. “If we win, obviously it works. If we lose, we won’t win the Big 12. It’s all about us.”