That was a close one folks, West Virginia gave Marshall every chance to take that game. Thankfully they were kind enough to fumble deep in their own territory, starting an 18 point roll. It looked really bad there for a while, in order to curb my anger I thought upon my lifetime as a Mountaineer fan. I took a sick kind of solace in knowing that I have lived through at least 4 games that were more heartbreaking than losing to Marshall would have been. And here we go…
1989 Notre Dame
I was a youngin, lucky enough to have a Dad that wasn’t going to miss West Virginia’s first shot at a National Title. We flew out to Arizona, saw the Grand Canyon, had a good old time. Then we went to the game. Our seats were one row from the top of Sun Devil Stadium, which is freaking enormous. Being spoiled with a lower level seat at Mountaineer Field I thought I was watching the game from the surface of the moon. A few plays in Major Harris got hurt, and since 99.997% of the game plan revolved around the Maj, the game was pretty much over from that point on. I cried, the loss of a national championship is a lot to put on the head of a 9 year old. Can’t say if I have fully recovered.
Say the words “blocked punt” to any seasoned Mountaineer fan and expect a swift response. First will be unholy anger and fury, they will then leave the room, enter the fetal position and cry. My brother works for a big time bank, and they gave him some tickets to this particular game. Looking at the tickets, we thought they were pretty good, only to realize when we got there they were in the front row on the 30 yard line on the south side. This is the day I discovered the front row at Mountaineer Field sucks, the stadium is not a square, its more shaped like a football. So the front row bends at the worst possible angle so that you couldn’t see damn near anything that was going on to the north, which was about 70% of the field. As they lined up for the punt, it happened to be right in front of us. I saw Jermain Mack break free, time stood still, I could see what was about to happen, but I could not stop it.
13-9, 13-9 oh how I will forever be haunted by 13-9. After the game I sat with my head in my hands for about 20 minutes. After regaining the ability to walk I went to the nearest 7-11 (now a BFS) and purchased a 40 of Budweiser. I was so enraged I decided to walk back to my car downtown while drinking the 40 and randomly screaming out a combination of vulgarity and vitriol. I arrived at my car after polishing off the 40, then realized I had a dilemma, I was fucking trashed out of my head from the 40 oz of Bud, no way this car is being driven by me. I then called my girlfriend, mumbled some such nonsense, and passed out in the car. My girlfriend is awesome and walked to where I had parked and drove the car back to her house and I guess dragged me in where I awoke the next morning, wondering how the hell I got there.
Despite being undefeated WVU was not invited to the national championship party. Instead we got stuck in the Sugar Bowl vs Florida. We kept our heads held up, thinking that a victory vs the Gators could perhaps land us atop the coaches poll. Things started as fantastically as one could possibly imagine with a quick Mountaineer touchdown. Then Florida took out the JV and proceeded to run up 41 unanswered. You can never forget Darren Studstill getting freaking rocked then trying to run the next play with chin strap hanging off his helmet, so memorable there is a YouTube clip memorializing it to this day.
So always remember Mountie Fans, a win is a win. Remember where you come from.