If you go into the Hall of Traditions at the Milan Puskar Center there is a plenty to see.

Plenty of memories, plenty of hardware, and plenty of what makes a solid foundation for a football program.

Only two West Virginia football teams have won every single game on their schedule, which means most of the Hall of Traditions collection are a byproduct of some sort of previous adversity.

Of those bounce-back teams, three stand out as among the most memorable in program history:


Nine years ago, Dana Holgorsen’s Mountaineers opened the season with a big road trip to Atlanta to face the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.

Despite the play-making of Kevin White offensively and Mario Alford on special teams, West Virginia fell to Nick Saban’s crew, 33-23.

The Mountaineers responded, rattling off six wins in their next seven games, including memorable triumphs over Maryland (off the foot of Josh Lambert) and No. 4 Baylor.

WVU finished the regular season 7-5 and earned a Liberty Bowl bid.


Twenty years earlier, the Mountaineers opened the 1994 season against Nebraska in the Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands.

The matchup was highly anticipated, with WVU coming off an undefeated regular season and facing a national power in the Cornhuskers.

Red and White was no match for the old Gold and Blue, however. Nebraska shut out WVU 31-0 and sent Don Nehlen’s group into a spiral, opening the season 1-4.

WVU would bounce back in October, first against Missouri on the road, then get back on track in one of the most electric Backyard Brawls in series history.

The Mountaineers dominated the Panthers on their own turf in the first half, taking a 33-19 lead into the locker room behind strong defense and special teams. But Pitt rallied to tie the game up at 33 in the fourth quarter. After a Chad Johnston-to-Rashaan Vanterpool 81-yard touchdown pass, the Panthers took the lead with a score of their own and two-point conversion, 41-40.

It was Wheeling native Zach Abraham who saved the season for the Mountaineers, grabbing a pass from Johnston and cruising into the end zone with seconds to go to create WVU’s momentum.

After the following week’s loss against No. 7 Miami, the Mountaineers ended the year on a four-game win streak to finish the regular season 7-5 and earn a Carquest Bowl bid.

But arguably the most memorable comeback came nine years later.


In 2003, Rich Rodriguez and his Mountaineers opened up at home with Big Ten power Wisconsin.

Despite an early 17-7 lead, the Badgers rallied to beat WVU 24-17. Just like in 1994, the loss sent the Mountaineers down a skid to another 1-4 start.

After a win over Big East doormat Rutgers, West Virginia vaulted back on to the national scene with a Wednesday night matchup with third-ranked Virginia Tech in Morgantown.

The Mountaineers never let the Hokies get into the game, with defense stopping the run and forcing three interceptions. Rasheed Marshall put the momentum entirely on the Gold and Blue’s side with a 93-yard touchdown pass to Travis Garvin.

The 28-7 victory was the second win in a seven-game win streak with which WVU finished the season. The Mountaineers finished the year 8-4 with a Gator Bowl bid.

Any time West Virginia opens the season with a loss, history indicates one thing:

A winning streak or a memorable moment may be just around the corner.