MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - It was bow season on Saturday in the Mountain State.
It was David Bowie season on Saturday on Mountaineer Field.
There were changes on the depth chart. There were changes in regard to West Virginia's team chemistry. And there was a big change on the scoreboard.
In what set up as WVU's most important game of the season, against the team most highly ranked, coach Dana Holgorsen's Mountaineers hung in, rose up and stunned No. 11 Oklahoma State before an enthusiastic crowd of 57,280 on a sunny September afternoon.
"I've never been so proud to call these guys my teammates," said WVU linebacker Jared Barber.
For good reason. The thought of a winning season before Saturday seemed laughable. The thought of scoring 30 points against an OSU team featuring All-Big 12 preseason selections Calvin Barnett and Shaun Lewis seemed preposterous. To expect WVU to turn itself around from a 37-0 loss to Maryland seemed ridiculous.
But there was a spark. There was enthusiasm along the Mountaineer sideline and on the field. There was a victory.
Some of it had to do with changes - especially at quarterback. There was Clint Trickett finally taking over there. He was that spark. And, although at times he looked shaky, he completed 24 of 50 passes for 309 yards. He took a licking and kept on ticking.
Trickett was the most obvious changeup. But there were so many to the previous depth chart that one couldn't help but think of WVU hoops coach Bob Huggins, who basically blew up his roster after last season to start over.
Holgorsen started Daikiel Shorts over Mario Alford at inside receiver. Ivan McCartney started over preseason sensation Kevin White at wideout. The most highly regarded offensive lineman, Quinton Spain, was moved to left guard and Nick Kindler was promoted to the first team at left tackle. Previously injured Adam Pankey made an appearance at right tackle.
Defensively, Doug Rigg was promoted to a starter at the strong-side linebacker spot and Barber moved over to the weak side. (The unit's leader, Nick Kwiatkoski, was out with an injured hamstring.) Some moves announced just before the game were even changed.
However the pieces were put in place, though, the finished picture looked good to Holgorsen and Mountaineer fans.
"Yep," said the head coach, "considering we actually scored and made first downs."
He said he wasn't sure about many of the younger or newer team members until early in the year. He spoke of mixing and matching, and he said that might not be over.