Some Mountaineer teams are getting into the middle of their seasons, while others are just getting started. The West Virginia football team is looking to build off of September’s success. The WVU men’s and women’s soccer teams are trying to improve their resumes for the postseason. And the #1 ranked Mountaineer rifle team is starting another run at a national title to add to their 19 national championships. So here are this month’s biggest games for those Mountaineer teams.
Honorable Mention: Football vs Kansas (October 6)
The Mountaineers are coming off of a big road win at Texas Tech, but this matchup doesn’t bring quite as much excitement, which puts it in the honorable mention spot. The Jayhawks have shown signs of improvement this season, but they are currently 2-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play. This game does bring some excitement considering it is Homecoming Week and the annual Gold Rush game at Mountaineer Field. WVU currently has a four game winning streak against the Jayhawks, and the Mountaineers have never lost to them at home, so hopefully those streaks can continue. This game will also be nationally televised on ESPN2, which gives Will Grier and WVU another opportunity to shine in front of a national audience.
5. Men’s Soccer vs Pitt (October 23)
The WVU men’s soccer team will take on Pitt later this month in another addition of the Backyard Brawl. The Panthers has faced six ranked opponents so far this season, but they only won one of those matches. WVU’s junior defender Pascal Derwaritsch has stepped up this season for the Mountaineers, not only by playing solid defense, but also by leading the team with four goals. Derwaritsch has been helped by senior midfielder Joey Piatczyc, who is now the all-time leader in career assists in WVU men’s soccer history. Pitt handled the Mountaineers in last season’s match between the two rivals, so WVU will be looking to avenge that loss this season at home during Mountaineer Week.
4. Rifle vs #6 Ohio State, #4 Murray State, #10 Nebraska, and #9 Air Force (October 20-21)
The West Virginia rifle team currently sits at #1 in the national rankings, after finishing second in the nation last season. WVU won their first match this past weekend against Akron, after great performances by senior Ginny Thrasher and junior Milica Babic. This event in late October will put the Mountaineers up against four of the best teams in the country, and all of the matches will take place in Morgantown. All four of these opponents are currently undefeated and ranked in the top ten, so this will be a great early test for the Mountaineers to see if they will continue to be national title contenders again this season.
3. Football at Iowa State (October 13)
Although Iowa State is 1-3 overall this season and 0-2 in the Big 12, this game still has the potential to be a challenging one for the Mountaineers. The Cyclones played two close games against Oklahoma and TCU, falling 37-27 and 17-14 in each of those games, respectively. The game against the Sooners was also at Iowa State, so the Cyclones could be very eager to get an upset win in front of their home crowd (and likely a national television audience) when WVU arrives. The Mountaineers have also won the last four matchups against ISU and they have never lost in Ames, which could also fuel Iowa State’s motivation for this game and make it another tough road test for WVU.
2. Women’s Soccer vs #8 Texas (October 7)
After a slow start to the season, the West Virginia women’s soccer team is starting to build momentum. The Mountaineers currently have a six game winning streak, including two wins against ranked Big 12 opponents. Sophomore Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel and Senior Sh’Nia Gordon have stepped up for WVU during this win streak. Ferrer-vanGinkel and Gordon were scoreless until the first game of the current win streak. Now they lead the team with five and four goals, respectively. WVU is currently undefeated in Big 12 play and this upcoming matchup against #8 Texas will be a tough test with postseason implications for the Mountaineers. The Longhorns are yet to lose a match this season and they came out on top against WVU last season in Austin. West Virginia fans who are in Morgantown for Homecoming and the football game against Kansas can see this match on Sunday afternoon at WVU’s Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. The match will also be televised by the Fox Sports Networks.
1. Football vs Baylor (October 25)
The top game for the month of October is the WVU football game against Baylor. This is the first Thursday night game at home for the Mountaineers since the 2014 season and this game also falls on Mountaineer Week. If the Mountaineers are able to handle their business in the games prior to this matchup, WVU could potentially be undefeated and at the top of the Big 12 coming in to this game. Baylor is currently 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference following a blowout loss to Oklahoma this past weekend, where the Bears gave up 66 points and allowed OU’s Kyler Murray to throw six touchdown passes. With those numbers in mind, this could potentially be a big game for Will Grier and the Mountaineer offense. WVU will also have a national audience for this game with a national broadcast on FS1. A big win in this game could also help build momentum as WVU prepares for a very difficult month in November, which makes this game much more important.
October is going to be a big month for WVU athletics. Hopefully each of these Mountaineer teams will be able to gather big wins from the games on this list.