I can remember it like it was yesterday. As a sophomore in high school, I knew I would never hear the end of it from my friends on Monday morning. My favorite team had just lost to the worst team in the FBS and helped them snap a 29-game conference losing streak.
November 16, 2013 is not a day that Mountaineer fans want to remember. Not even a little bit. The Mountaineers traveled to Lawrence, Kansas with a 4-6 record, and had the opportunity to make a bowl game with two-straight wins against Kansas and Iowa State. What seemed almost probable considering how horrendous both the Jayhawks and Cyclones were at the time, soon faded away.
West Virginia did not just lose to Kansas on this cold November day, they got dismantled. At one point in the fourth quarter, they were even trailing the Jayhawks 31-7. Yes, they were down three scores to the damned cellar-dweller Kansas Jayhawks. Quarterback Paul Millard was able to orchestrate two late touchdown drives to make it respectable, 31-19, but it was too little too late. The Mountaineers went home with their tails between their legs, and a long offseason ahead of them.
While many people want to pin the loss on Paul Millard and the offense, it wasn’t entirely their fault. Sure, Millard did not play his best game, but he did more than enough to beat Kansas. The defense is where the Mountaineers fell apart that afternoon.
West Virginia gave up a whopping 315 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns to the Jayhawks. James Sims, a former Jayhawk running back, put up 211 rushing yards on 22 carries with three rushing touchdowns. Kansas was simply unstoppable, and Mountaineer Nation had officially taken the greatest gut-punch of the Dana Holgorsen era.
However, things have been better for the program since then. West Virginia currently holds a six-game winning streak over the Jayhawks, and have a very good chance to make it seven this Saturday in Morgantown. Though the program has suffered another losing season, it hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as it was in Lawrence in 2013.
Every program has dark moments in their history, and this was a dark moment for Mountaineer Football.