Mountaineer Football Memories: West Virginia vs. Oklahoma, September 11, 1982

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Here's a look back to when WVU football wasn't nationally known or really even recognized, yet this win made people notice.

The last time we went to Oklahoma...I was 12 but still remember it rather vividly. Like the Pitt game in 1982, I had to deliver papers while the game was going on. There were so many game parties along my route that I never was out of earshot of the game blasting on one of the many stereos. It was one of the most nerve racking walks I've ever had in my life. From the feeling of, " oh boy, here we go again" as Oklahoma jumped out to a 14-0 lead. As WVU punted on their next possession and Oklahoma moved the ball into Mountaineer territory on their next possession, my mind started thinking about things to do besides listen to the end of the game. The Sooner field goal try was no good, though, and it seemed to energize the Mountaineers and it left the door open for the good guys to inch their way back into the game.

I finished up in the third quarter right after Curlin Beck scored to put WVU up 27-21. As nervous as I was about the outcome of the game, I still don't think I understood the gravity of the situation. I knew who Oklahoma was and I knew the name Switzer. But back in those days, I think there might have been 20-25 channels available on TV and the game was shown at the Charleston Civic Center on a movie screen, I believe. So Oklahoma might as well have been a million miles away to 12 year old me. Whatever national reputation they may have had, it didn't mean nearly as much as Pitt or Penn St. Both of which were also national powers in football at the time.

Still, I knew it was a big deal and could remember the 52-10 beatdown we suffered at their hands in our previous meeting. Plus, my only real memories of WVU before that were the four losing seasons under Cignetti, the 6-6 season of 1980, and the 9-3 season in 1981. We didn't have a winning tradition to speak of in my lifetime. I had no idea who Bobby Bowden was. So when Oklahoma tied the game up at 27, I expected the bottom to fall out. I didn't know it at the time, but I had already grown accustomed to "waiting for the fall" as Mike Casazza would put it.

But that was the last time the Sooners would threaten as the Mountaineers took over and never looked back on their way to a 41-27 win. Twelve year old me didn't know quite what to do to celebrate. Modern day me would have gone two fisted; three fisted if I could find another hand to help. It was one of those games that solidified my love for the Mountaineers. Many things have come and gone in my life that I don't recall. But 31 years later, I can point back to this day as if it was yesterday. That was a great day to be a Mountaineer.

What are your memories of that game/day?

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