MORGANTOWN - A West Virginia football team mired in a dispiriting four-game losing streak faces arguably its most difficult challenge all season tonight when the Mountaineers face No. 13 Oklahoma.
Yes, WVU has already faced a team that is ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings and primed to play for the national championship if it wins two more games. But even against Kansas State the Mountaineers didn't face these challenges:
Still, when West Virginia (5-4, 2-4 Big 12) hosts Oklahoma (7-2, 5-1) tonight at Mountaineer Field (7 p.m., Fox), there is at least one reason for hope.
For four games now, the Mountaineers have been hamstrung on offense by teams that have followed the same formula, playing deep zone coverage designed to eliminate the big plays that WVU relied on during its 5-0 start. At least Oklahoma isn't likely to do that.
"I'm kind of excited about it actually,'' West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "We haven't faced anything different for quite some time and this is a little bit different style of defense.''
It's not easier, mind you. After all, Oklahoma has been more successful in stopping the pass than anyone else in the country. In nine games, the Sooners have given up just three passing touchdowns and none of them mattered. Two were by Texas after the Longhorns had already fallen behind 56-8 and the other was in a 69-13 rout of outmanned Florida A&M.