Seemingly every year in college football, there is a team from a traditional powerhouse conference that gets caught napping against an FCS team.
It has happened in the Big 12 in each of the last two season’s opening weekend. It almost happened to West Virginia in 2013.
The Mountaineers were given everything they could handle and more in last season’s opener against the William & Mary Tribe.
The Tribe held a 17-7 lead at halftime in Morgantown, but West Virginia was able to come back and escape with a victory by the skin of its teeth.
Another Big 12 team has already fallen victim to an FCS school this season. Iowa State was thrashed by North Dakota State, who has won three straight FCS national championships, 34-14 Saturday.
The Towson Tigers, West Virginia’s opponent Saturday, made it all the way to the FCS championship in 2013 before losing to the aforementioned NDSU Bison.
While the Tigers have lost some key contributors from the team that made a run at the championship in 2013, West Virginia’s coaching staff is working to keep the Mountaineers intensity level as high as it was leading into their showdown with the Crimson Tide in Week 1.
“Because of the way we prepared for the first game, we have to go out and prepare that way every game. There are no easy games,” said offensive line coach Ron Crook.
“I don’t think in my
entire life I’ve come away from a game saying, ‘Boy that was easy.’”
West Virginia came out with plenty of intensity against Alabama. Considering the Mountaineers had all off-season to think about taking on the No. 2 team in the nation that might not be all that surprising.
The real test will come this week. Any hype generated about this game will have to come from within. Senior associate head coach Tom Bradley said his team shouldn’t need any extra motivation heading into its matchup with Towson.
“Towson is a team that played for the national championship in their division. If you start looking at who those teams beat, they beat up on some good teams. They beat up on a lot of Division-1 teams,” he said.
“If you’re not ready to play - I don’t care who you play or whatever sport you’re in - if you’re not ready to go, you’re going to get beat. If you’re going to be a good football team, you’ve got to improve every day.”
While West Virginia showed plenty of fight against Alabama, it still wasn’t enough to come away with a victory.
Bradley said his team has to clear its mind of that lost opportunity in order to have a chance at success.
“You’ve only got so many opportunities to play this game. You can’t pick and choose. You can’t circle dates on the calendar,” he said.
“There are 12 opportunities to go fight. That’s it. You’ve got 12. We lost one opportunity. We have 11 to go.”