MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — The West Virginia Mountaineers were projected to finish 14th out of 14 teams in the Big 12 Conference (dead last) and used the mantra “14” as a motivational tool to prove the nation wrong, and they did.
The Mountaineers finished 8-4 overall and 6-3 in the conference, and more than that, they represented the state of West Virginia is such a terrific way this year. West Virginia put their heads down, ignored the outside noise and defied the odds. They won and they exceeded expecations and they did it in a way that made the whole state of West Virginia proud.
I don’t remember a time throughout the season that a member of the West Virginia football program behaved inappropriately or disrespectfully during the 2023 season. They worked hard, they never gave up and they silenced the critics. If that isn’t quintessential West Virginia, I don’t know what is.
Players like Zach Frazier, Sean Martin, Wyatt Milum, Doug Nester and Nick Malone, among other West Virginia natives on the team, were such class, fine examples of what young men from the state can accomplish at the highest level of college football. Zach Frazier, who was playing in what is likely his final game with the Mountaineers, broke his ankle late in the 4th quarter against Baylor. Frazier recognized the 10-second run off rule and selflessly hobbled off the field to save the few remaining seconds left in the game. This was truly one of the most memorable moments in West Virginia football history. Check out the play below:
Zach Frazier with a legendary final play as a Mountaineer. Left it all on the field. pic.twitter.com/D8mjPr8IGT
— EerRational (@EerRational) November 26, 2023
But it’s more than just native West Virginians that have made the state proud. Garrett Greene, who sat patiently on the bench and waited his turn for the past 2 years, has proven to be one of the best teammates for the Mountaineers ever. Greene recently said the following in an interview: “I never thought about leaving the program. This state means so much to me and my family. I was a little boy from Florida and they welcomed me with open arms. My dad always wanted me to stick it out, saying good things come to those who wait. I always tell everyone I was born and raised in Florida, but I grew up in West Virginia.”
This is a West Virginia football team that the state can be proud of and not just because of the 8-4 record and proving everyone wrong. They exemplified the spirit of the state of West Virginia in doing so.