At least a couple of West Virginia's assistant coaches don't have to reach back very far to recall what it's like on the FCS side of these matchups. Both offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and defensive line coach Erik Slaughter coached at Stephen F. Austin right before coming to Morgantown.
"I know it'll be a big game for them because most of their guys think they should be here,'' Slaughter said, referring not necessarily to West Virginia, but to the FBS level in general. "They're definitely going to want to play at a high level. Plus, it's going to be in an NFL stadium, which is going to be big for our kids as well.
"At Stephen F. Austin we had five guys on our defense who went to NFL camps. They'll have guys [with that kind of potential].''
The Dukes, in fact, have at least nine players on their roster who began their careers at FBS schools, and six are on the depth chart for Saturday's game. Included in that group is JMU's second-year starting kicker, Cameron Starke, who was on the roster at WVU for a semester in the spring of 2009 before going to James Madison.
Holgorsen insists the Mountaineers are not taking anything for granted, referring to the JMU game as just as important as any other.
"The most important game we had was Marshall two weeks ago because it was the first game on our schedule,'' Holgorsen said. "This is Game No.2 and we're going to take them every bit as serious as we took Marshall and every bit as serious as we'll take Maryland next week. We'll treat it just like every other game that's on our schedule.''
History suggests that would be a wise move, given the upsets the FCS wins over FBS opponents that have become almost routine.
"It's going to happen again,'' Holgorsen said. "And we need to do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen to us.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.