West Virginia Owes Kansas State

Brett Deering

Revenge. It's a dish best served cold, and a big, icy, moldy, skanky dish of it is what's on the menu Saturday night as the Mountaineers try to avenge an 82 year old blowout loss to the Wildcats in Morgantown.

We're actually slightly more familiar with this week's opponent than any of the Mountaineers' conference foes so far, having played the purple Wildcats twice in our history before 2012. The first meeting was late in the 1930 season, which happened to be Ira Errett Rodgers' last as head coach of the Mountaineers. The K-State wildcats, led by head coach Bill McMillin, sauntered into town in the midst of a 5-3 season looking to de-rail Rodgers' team, who was sitting at 4-3 and having just come off an embarrassing 18-2 beatemdown by Fordham. But the Mountaineers held steady at home, pasting the visitors by a then-eye-popping 23-7.

The Wildcats' offensive coordinator, Bill Snyder, came under heavy fire after that game as fans telegraphed angry messages to the athletic department in Manhattan, where the secretary read them off one by one just after Snyder stepped off the train ride home. But the Mountaineers would go on to drop the next two games that season, a heartbreaking 7-6 upset by Washington & Jefferson on Thanksgiving weekend, and a 12-0 blanking by the Oregon State Beavers who were playing without their pads as the equipment wagon had sprung a leak and capsized while trying to ford the Mississippi River on the way to Morgantown. Disheartened by the late-season collapse, Rodgers was run out of town and Earl Neale was brought on to resurrect the struggling program.

Neale turned out not to be the right hire, though, and as Kansas State again returned to Morgantown in 1931 (yeah, WVU was a big-time program in that day and wouldn't even give 1-1 deals to Big 6 teams like K-State, let alone East Carolina). Led by a tenacious defense that gave up less than 4 points a game (and never more than 7 to any team they faced), McMillin and a veteran Snyder guided the Wildcats to a 19-0 pasting that wasn't even as close as the final score indicated.

Though the Mountaineers would beat Penn State later that year, and despite K-State's decades long funk where they became the first college football program to lose 500 games, that loss has continued to sting. It has festered, like an infected wound or that uneasy feeling in your stomach when you wake up on the floor of your parents' bathroom with only your underwear and one shoe on. And now, after all this time, WVU is ready to re-assert its dominance. Rest assured, Kansans Kansasans Kansasses Wildcat fans, you will not shut us out again. In the first home night game of the year---a special time and a special place, where angels fear to tread---the Mountaineers shall prevail!

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