Fall sports are in full swing at West Virginia, after many of the WVU sports seasons had safe and successful starts in September. WVU has been able to keep its student-athletes and coaches healthy, and now it’s time for these Mountaineer teams to step up in some big games this month. Let’s take a look at the top five games for WVU athletics in October!
5. Cross Country at the Big 12 Championship (October 30th)
The West Virginia cross country team had its schedule shortened this season due to COVID-19. That means that the Mountaineers will only have a couple of opportunities to prove themselves this fall. After participating in just one regular season event, WVU will compete in the 2020 Big 12 Cross Country Championship in Lawrence, Kansas. The Mountaineers finished third at the conference meet last season. WVU will be led by senior Hayley Jackson and sophomore Ceili McCabe this year, who both finished in the top 15 individually at the Big 12 Championship last season.
4. Football vs Kansas (October 17th)
This game would normally not be very important to Mountaineer fans, but a recent announcement by WVU may have changed that. Earlier this week it was announced that this game against Kansas will be the first one that Mountaineer fans can attend this season. Milan Puskar Stadium will be filled to 25% capacity, which is about 15,000 fans. Additional safety measures will also be implemented, such as fans being required to wear facemasks and tailgating being off limits. As for the game itself, WVU looks to continue its win streak against the Jayhawks, which is currently at six games in a row. Kansas has also lost its first two games of the season to Coastal Carolina and Baylor, so the first game that Mountaineer fans can attend looks like it could be an enjoyable one.
3. #7 Women’s Soccer vs #6 Kansas (October 30th)
The West Virginia women’s soccer team is currently sitting at #7 in the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women’s National Poll. The Mountaineers are now 2-1 this season, after a heartbreaking loss in double overtime to #4 Oklahoma State. WVU has been led by the lone senior on the roster this year, midfielder Stefany Ferrer-vanGinkel. Ferrer-vanGinkel tallied two goals and one assist in the Mountaineers’ first three games. Sophomore forward Enzi Broussard has also scored two goals for WVU this season. The match against #6 Kansas will give the Mountaineers another chance to show that they can compete with the best teams in the country. The undefeated Jayhawks are currently 2-0 and are yet to give up a goal. WVU soccer fans will be able to stream the match on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.
2. Football vs Baylor (October 3rd)
After suffering a loss to #15 Oklahoma State in a game full of mistakes, the Mountaineers are coming back to Morgantown to try to avoid a 1-2 start for the first time since 2003. Baylor is currently 1-0 after dominating Kansas, 47-14, at home. Senior running back Trestan Ebner did it all for the Bears in their win over the Jayhawks. Ebner had 36 rushing yards with one rushing touchdown, 53 receiving yards with one receiving touchdown, and 183 kick return yards on two returns that both went for touchdowns. The WVU defense and special teams will have to be prepared for Ebner and the rest of the BU scoring threats. Senior linebacker Tony Fields II has been stepping up during his first two games as a Mountaineer, after playing at Arizona the past three years. Fields is leading the team with 19 total tackles and one interception that was returned 22 yards. Baylor narrowly defeated WVU last season. The Mountaineers will have a chance to get revenge on the Bears and get back to a winning record this week. The game will be nationally televised on ABC.
1. Football vs Kansas State (October 31st)
Kansas State shocked the Big 12 in its first conference game of the season, by going on the road and defeating #3 Oklahoma, 38-35. The Wildcats are now receiving votes in the national polls, and they could potentially be 4-1 and in the top 25 by the time they come to Morgantown on Halloween. K-State senior safety Jahron McPherson was named the Walter Camp and Bronco Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week after his team’s upset win over OU. McPherson had 11 tackles in the Wildcats’ first two games, along with an interception and a forced fumble. For the WVU offense, junior Jarret Doege is off to a solid start in his first full season as the Mountaineers’ starting quarterback. Doege has 513 passing yards and four touchdowns through the first two games of the year. Doege’s main targets in the passing game have been sophomores Winston Wright, Jr., and Sam James. Both receivers each have nine receptions and one receiving touchdown this season. Wright is also leading the team in receiving yards with 158. The Mountaineer run game has also shown signs of improvement. Junior Leddie Brown has assumed most of the workload, with 36 runs for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Fellow junior running back Alec Sinkfield has also stepped up, gaining 134 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns off of 22 attempts. WVU currently has a four-game win streak over KSU. Last season, the Mountaineers escaped with a close 24-20 win on the road against a ranked Wildcat team, in Doege’s first game as WVU’s starting quarterback. The Mountaineers will have help keeping the win streak alive this year, with a 25% capacity crowd at Milan Puskar Stadium cheering them on. This game will likely be on national television, but the details have not been released yet.
October will be a big month for WVU athletics. The women’s soccer team will try to sustain their top-10 ranking and the Mountaineer football team will attempt to find its way into the national polls. Be sure to keep up with these games and more as the fall sports season continues!