MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Mountaineers may be 0-1 on the gridiron, but that doesn’t mean their season is domed.
That’s head coach Neal Brown’s message to his team this week ahead of Saturday’s home opener against Long Island, and he’s using recent history to sell that point to his players.
“We’re gonna highlight a bunch of teams that had lost a game that was a 50-50 game to start, and rebounded to have really, really good seasons, and we’re gonna highlight those teams that it occurred with in our league, and there’s several you can look back on over the last four years,” Brown said Tuesday at his weekly press conference.
Two Big 12 teams fit that description over the last few seasons. Last fall, Iowa State was beaten convincingly by Louisiana in its season opener, but the Cyclone rebounded to finish the year with a 9-3 overall record.
Head coach Matt Campbell and company reached the Big 12 Championship for the first time and concluded their season with a Fiesta Bowl victory.
Then, back in 2018, Texas also opened its season with a road loss vs. Maryland, but the Longhorns ended that season with a 10-4 overall record.
Yes, that Texas team is the same one that lost to WVU in Austin in an instant classic that featured Will Grier’s famous touchdown pass to Gary Jennings. After that loss, though, the Longhorns made their way to the Big 12 Championship and the Sugar Bowl, the latter of which they won by beating Georgia.
The Mountaineers will have a chance to rebound Saturday at 5 p.m. when they host Long Island, which is in its third season as a Division I FCS program. The game will stream live on ESPN+.