“It’s about to get real uncomfortable around here.”
Dana Holgorsen uttered those words after his team watched Oklahoma State sprint away with a 50-39 win. And I’m sure that, if he didn’t use that word “uncomfortable” with the team before he talked to the media, or they didn’t hear it when he was talking to the media, the players definitely heard it plenty afterward.
Holgorsen needed to make things uncomfortable around the locker room this week, especially with some of the other things he had to say after that game, like “If you don’t play with toughness …” and “they dominated up front.” Coaches want to talk about their team as the dominant ones, not the dominated. Holgorsen had to discuss the latter. He wasn’t happy.
Something had to be done to shake things up, especially considering the next task, No. 14 Iowa State at Puskar Stadium. The Cyclones have one just one of five games they’ve played against WVU, but this crew is quite different. ISU has knocked off both Oklahoma and TCU in its last four games, and both the Sooners and Horned Frogs were in the nation’s top five when the Cyclones did it.
How much would a loss sting for WVU? Look at it like this: It took 13 games last season for the Mountaineers to suffer three losses. Fall against Iowa State, and they’ll have four losses in nine games. The last thing WVU wanted to do after last season was to start sliding backward.
And the worst place the Mountaineers would slide is in the Big 12 standings. Falling to 3-3 in the league would essentially eliminate them from contention for a spot in the conference title game. They’d play out the string as a spoiler looking to at least secure that bowl-clinching sixth win.
Now, if WVU can win, a 4-2 conference record keeps that door open, provided a couple more teams stumble. So this game, as is every game for the rest of the season, is crucial. Another loss, and the Mountaineers can find out just how much more uncomfortable the season can get.