Oklahoma St.-West Virginia Preview
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)
Coming off an early bye week, No. 11 Oklahoma State (3-0) has won its last three games away from Boone Pickens Stadium and has a 16-5 record on the road since the start of 2010. Rallying around an `us-against-them' mindset has paid off for the Cowboys in hostile territory.
"When you're going to go on the road and play against 50, 60, 70,000 people who don't like you and want you to fail, you have to get excited for that,'' said sophomore quarterback J.W. Walsh. "There's not a better feeling almost than being able to go out there and shut up 70,000 people.''
Several Oklahoma State players noted that coach Mike Gundy has referenced the movie "300,'' which features a small group banding together to battle overwhelming odds and a much larger army.
"When you go on the road, we'll travel with 70 players, give or take a few, and with staff, our travel party on an airplane will be about 115,'' Gundy said of the typical road contest. "But when you get there, it's 115 people against however many people their stadium holds, for the most part. We've always challenged our team that way to get them to come together as a group and play hard and that gives us the best chance to win.''
Heading into Morgantown will feature another interesting wrinkle for the Cowboys, since third-year Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen served as Oklahoma State offensive coordinator in 2010.
West Virginia (2-2), which fell 37-0 at Maryland on Saturday, dropped its only conference game 16-7 at No. 14 Oklahoma on Sept. 7.
Even though Holgorsen has been gone for three years, his impact can still be felt in Stillwater, as many current Cowboys were around during his tenure including running back Jeremy Smith and backup quarterback Clint Chelf.
"Coach Holgorsen is a pretty good coach, I know he can overcome (the recent loss),'' said Smith, a senior. "West Virginia is a pretty good team, but this really isn't about them. It's about the way we prepare, the way we go out there and take care of business.''
One of Holgorsen's biggest contributions to Oklahoma State is the no-huddle offense that has been so successful this season, racking up 115 points over the last two games.
"The offense that we still run is the offense that he brought here, even though we've tweaked it a bunch and added our own nuances over the years,'' said Walsh, initially recruited by Holgorsen from Denton (Texas) Guyer High School. "He was a character. People talk about his coaching style, but he was definitely a lot of fun to get recruited by and talk to, and I know he's a great coach.''
Gundy elaborated a bit on Holgorsen's role in attracting Walsh to Oklahoma State, which included his friendship with John Walsh, J.W.'s father, who still coaches Denton Guyer.
"We knew about J.W., but Dana kind of pushed the issue with him, and his relationship with Coach Walsh was really good,'' Gundy said. "From there, when we saw his tape and his history of being a winner, it didn't really take much to convince us to bring him in, but he was the one that pushed the envelope early.''
Even though he'll be facing Holgorsen, Walsh will be focused on maintaining the proper focus on the road.
"This year, every time we've traveled, we've handled it well, we've traveled the right way,'' Walsh said. "We've treated it like a business trip, and with the leadership we have on the team, I think we'll continue to travel with success.''
Holgorsen's team had no success away from Morgantown last weekend, turning the ball over six times and mustering 175 yards while being embarrassed by the Terrapins in Baltimore.
Holgorsen was left pointing the finger at himself after the Mountaineers recorded their fewest total yards in a decade and were shut out for the first time since 2001.
"There is plenty of blame to go around. The one that can be blamed more than anybody is me, that's for dang sure," Holgorsen told the school's official website. "That was not an acceptable performance."
Clint Trickett will start at quarterback for West Virginia in place of the injured Ford Childress.
Holgorsen said on his statewide radio show Thursday night that the redshirt freshman Childress has a torn pectoral muscle and didn't practice this week.
Trickett will be the third starter for the Mountaineers this season. Paul Millard and Childress have started two games apiece.
Trickett transferred from Florida State after graduating in the spring. He played two series in the season opener against William & Mary.