By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Dana Holgorsen apparently wants West Virginia revelers to act like they’ve been there before.
Problem is, starting fires has become tradition in Morgantown after big wins. It happened again on Saturday when 29 different fires were set after the Mountaineers defeated Texas 48-45 in a Big 12 thriller.
Yet, Holgorsen said it was business as usual for the Mountaineers.
“We had a good Sunday to wrap up the Texas game. As with every Sunday, we came in, addressed what was good and what was bad and watched the tape and told them that the game was over with,” Holgorsen said. “There wasn’t any time to celebrate. Hopefully, everybody that is associated with the program from a fan standpoint had a tremendous day on Saturday, and I hear they celebrated a lot.”
Holgorsen said he had heard about ‘riots and Mace’ on Monday, and then tried to defuse the enormity of the win over the Longhorns.
“Even if I know about it, what am I going to do about it? It’s not my responsibility,” Holgorsen said. “If it had something to do with a special win, then I would encourage everybody involved to get used to wins like that.
“Was that a big win for the program? Yes. Was it good for recruiting and branding? Absolutely. Does it count as a championship? No.”
While the win over an established national power like Texas was reason to celebrate, Holgorsen added that it wasn’t any more important than wins earlier in the season.
“It counts as one win, it counts as the same win as Baylor did, which is the same win that Marshall was minus the conference standings,” Holgorsen said.
“Our goal is to win the conference and we’re 2-0; those two wins are equal. There is no difference in the Texas win and the Baylor win.
“If we’re fortunate to prepare hard, get our guys ready to play, travel smart and safely and go beat Texas Tech, that’s going to count as a win, too. I don’t understand what was so special about it.”
Apparently the national pollsters did. West Virginia (5-0, 2-0) moved to No. 5 in the Associated Press poll and 4th in the USA Today rankings.
Yet, Holgorsen knows that ranking could slip just as dramatically if the Mountaineers don’t take care of business on Saturday at Texas Tech (4-1, 1-0).
“I’m not going to talk much about Texas, and I don’t want any of the players talking about Texas,” said Holgorsen, following practice on Tuesday. “It’s all about staying on the grind, and if these guys want to win a national championship then they need to learn how to do that.
“The next game has to be every bit important as the previous one. We’ve had three pretty emotional games in a row, with Maryland, Baylor and Texas, and these guys have to understand that it is college football. I think we have a group that understands that.”
West Virginia will travel to Texas Tech on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. contest that will be televised by ABC.
Holgorsen was asked if the Red Raiders could represent a ‘trap’ game between the highly-regarded Longhorns and No. 6/5 Kansas State next week in Morgantown.
“I don’t understand what a trap game means. You play the same every week,” said Holgorsen, who was an assistant who helped developed a prolific offense at Texas Tech for eight seasons. “If you don’t have the ability to understand that every week is the same, you get beat.
“Whether it’s a trap game or ‘big’ game, it’s a game.”
Texas Tech lost for the first time this season in a 40-21 decision to Oklahoma after starting the campaign with a 4-0 record and the best defense — statistically — in the nation. The Red Raiders have always been known for offense and are putting up 39.0 points a game.
“Texas Tech is a good football team. They had a setback last week, but they’ll be ready to go,” Holgorsen said. “It’s their homecoming, and they’ll be fired up about playing. From their fan standpoint, there will be some 60,000 people that will be anxious to get a crack at the Mountaineers.
“We need to play on all three sides of the ball.”
Holgorsen said that the atmosphere at Texas will be much the same at Lubbock, with just a few less folks in the stands.
Once again, get used to it.
“There will be 60,000 that care about their football; I would assume that will be pretty rowdy as well,” Holgorsen said. “That’s the beauty with being in the Big 12 — every game is like that.
“Now was Texas a little bit above and beyond based on 101,000? Yes. Coach (Mack) Brown even said it was the greatest crowd ever. That environment exists, and we need to get used to being in those types of environments and having those types of games. That’s why we wanted to be in the Big 12.”
Get ready for another week. It’s all part of fun and games in the Big 12.
“If they thought that was fun, we have another one this week,” Holgorsen said. “I can’t wait; I’m looking forward to it. I had fun, our players had fun and our 10,000 fans had fun.
“If they all thought that was fun and Baylor was fun, then they will probably have a good time this weekend.”
—Contact Brian Woodson