MORGANTOWN - By winning at TCU on Saturday, West Virginia lifted what seemed like the weight of the world off its shoulders, at least for the time being.
That 30-27 overtime win snapped a three-game losing skid. It was the first road win in almost a calendar year. It stopped a string of late collapses. And, most significantly, it made becoming bowl eligible with two more wins in the last three games go from a good bet that it won't to perhaps an even better bet that it now will.
But it's certainly not the end-all goal. That would be a winning record in addition to bowl eligibility. And that starts with a more immediate task.
"I just told them that now we needed to win two in a row. We haven't done that all year,'' coach Dana Holgorsen said right after the win in Texas. "We got one, now we've got to figure out a way to get the next one. It's not like we've got an easy opponent next week.''
Indeed, that next opponent for the Mountaineers (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) is revitalized Texas (6-2, 5-0), which has gone from a coach-firing 1-2 mess to start the season to the team alone in first place in the Big 12 (a game ahead of 4-0 Baylor). The teams meet at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mountaineer Field, the first night game of the season in Morgantown.
And if WVU does have a chance of putting together back-to-back wins, it is becoming fairly apparent that the best way to do that might be to use running back Charles Sims more.
True, it would be fairly easy to make an argument either way on a couple of diametrically-opposed viewpoints regarding just how much of an impact Sims has had on West Virginia's offense this season.
First, one could argue that the Houston transfer has accomplished and contributed little, given the state of WVU's offense. Like an MVP candidate from a last-place baseball team, can Sims really be all that if the Mountaineers still can't seem to get out of their own way most of the time?
And then there's the flip side, which argues that one man can do only so much, especially if he's not a quarterback who touches the ball on every snap. Perhaps because the cast around him remains largely unaccomplished, Sims' value is being buried.
But no matter the case, this much is certain: On a few occasions this season, Sims has been asked to play a huge role in WVU's offense and, when that happens, he's made good. Saturday's season-rescuing win was a perfect example.