MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– On Saturday afternoon 21 seniors will bid ado to Milan Puskar Stadium when West Virginia University takes on Baylor on Senior Day.
Those 21 seniors dedicated several years of their lives to the university and the state. They gave their blood, sweat and dedication to the football program.
“We have 21 seniors, we have 16 fifth-year seniors and 14 of these guys are starting, so 66 percent of the guys who are going through Senior Day are starting football players for us,” head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “You want to know why we’re getting close to winning 10 games that pretty much sums it up for you right there. Have a lot of guys who have been in the program for a long time. It means a lot to them. They were fortunate to be able to play with a group last year that it had meant a lot to them as well. A lot of fourth and fifth-year seniors last year who taught these guys how to do things the right way. Last year, those guys had a lot of adversity that they had to deal with, with how October went, injuries and all of that good stuff. This senior group this year, they learned a lot from that group, and they’ve taken what we built on last year and improved and got better, so really proud of those guys. This is going to be a great week to be able to send those guys out the right way.”
It will likely be an emotional day for the 21 Mountaineers who will walk across the field before the game with their families before playing one final time for the fans who bleed blue and gold.
“It’s definitely going to be emotional ride, the last game on Mountaineer field,” redshirt senior linebacker Justin Arndt said. “You think during the season you’ll never get to this point but now it’s here and now you have to look forward to playing it obviously but hopefully we’ll come out with a W at the end of the day. Just hopefully look back on this day and just reflect on how great of a day it was at the end.”
Even though this day comes every year, it will be especially difficult for this close-knit WVU team.
All season, players and coaches have preached that this is a family and not just a football team.
The Mountaineers have a chance to have their best season since joining the Big 12 and make it all the more special for the 21 young men whose collegiate careers are coming to an end.
No matter what happens, the last two, four or five years of their lives is something these seniors will never forget.
“You want to look back on it later but just during the time that you’re out there just being able to take in everything and just have fun,” Arndt said. “You don’t want to be uptight or anything, just go out there and have fun just like you have every other game and just hope that at the end of the day you’ll come out with a win.”
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose