September 22, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin (1) celebrates with wide receiver Dante Campbell (left) and running back Andrew Buie (13) after Austin scored a touchdown against the Maryland Terrapins during the fourth quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. The West Virginia Mountaineers won 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Bold Predictions: Oklahoma

This is the game we have been waiting for all year. Oklahoma, one of the most storied programs in college football will visit Milan Puskar Stadium for the first time ever. The Mountaineers have played some big time programs at home the past few seasons such as Auburn and LSU, but it has been a decade or more since the Mountaineers have had a prestigious conference home game.  Not to knock teams like Pitt, Syracuse, and Louisville, but they are not on the same level as Oklahoma and Texas in terms of prestige and tradition.

Mountaineer fans and national media alike thought that this game would be the de facto Big XII championship game. Neither team has lived up to that billing, WVU especially. The Sooners will bring their 7-2 record and their #12 ranking into Touchdown City to face the 5-4, unranked Mountaineers.

Riding a 4-game losing skid, how confident are the staffers of HailWV that the Mountaineers can pull out a win?

Ken Durbin:

I really think that the key to West Virginia being able to beat Oklahoma is the establishment of the running game. The last time the Mountaineers won, at Texas, they were able to balance both the run and the pass. That was due in large part to an exceptional performance from Andrew Buie. Since that time, the Mountaineers have looked like they have been running into brick walls, failing to find any openings along the defensive line.

Okahoma’s defense has been stout all season, but has shown some weakness in recent weeks. Against Baylor, the Sooners were carved up for 252 yards and 4 touchdowns. If there was ever a time to strike, now is that time for WVU. Coach Holgorsen will need to find ways for the offense to take advantage of Oklahoma’s recent problems handling the run to keep the Mountaineers in this game.

For WVU to have a shot against the Sooners, Buie is going to need to put up a big game. In the spirit of rooting for the Mountaineers, I am going to predict Buie rushing for 100 yards, receiving 25 yards, and 2 total scores. If Buie can rack up those numbers, I like WVU’s chances.

With all that said, I really don’t know if the Mountaineers are going to pull this one out. They will need to avoid stupid special teams blunders and get a couple of stops defensively. I really have a hard time imagining all those things going right for the Mountaineers, but I have seen stranger things happen in night games at Milan Puskar Stadium.

So, under the lights of Morgantown, the Mountaineers will prolong their 30 years of bragging rights over the Sooners for at least one more season. WVU gets a nail-biting victory for the ages: 56-54 in 3OT. If that isn’t bold, then I don’t know what is.

Brandon Miller:

Before the Oklahoma State game, I knew we’d have a shot at OSU, but we’d blow it. And we did have chances to beat Oklahoma State but just couldn’t take advantage. This week, I’m feeling a win. We have a history of coming out of nowhere to surprise the nation, Oklahoma has a history of dropping games they shouldn’t, and this wouldn’t be the first time they’ve overlooked WVU. Also- it’s a night game. Yes- I know Kansas State was too, but it definitely gives us an extra edge to be playing at home at night.

I sure hope the fans pack the stadium- I know the student turnout will be low due to Thanksgiving break and the dorms being closed (hopefully someone at WVU sees the light and they start leaving the dorms open on game weekends during break), but if you have a ticket, either get in the stadium or get your ticket to someone that will. Tickets are still available from WVU too if you can’t find any.

After two absolutely dreadful performances on all sides of the ball against Texas Tech and Kansas State, we’ve started to turn it around. Our defense is still below average, but it has improved. We still give up some big plays, but it doesn’t happen every series anymore, and we have shown an ability to stop the other team from time to time. This is an improvement. I’m not sure what caused the improvement- whether it’s the freshmen gaining experience, putting Patterson on the field and having him call the plays, or maybe Holgorsen is getting more involved with the defense. Whatever it is, I hope we continue to see improvement on that side of the ball. It really seems like we’re close to figuring it out. Hopefully this is the game everything comes together.

Offensively, we’re still sputtering, but we are starting to move the ball a bit better than we did against TT and KSU. Having Stedman Bailey back and healthy is huge, but Geno is still missing throws he made earlier in the year. I have no idea what his problem is or when it will improve, but we’re leaving points on the field when he can’t hit open receivers deep down the field. We are also getting killed by having no tangible running game. Offensively, the key to the Oklahoma game will be our ability to put a running game together. I’m not saying we need to gain 300 yards on the ground, but it would be a big help to the passing game to get a solid 150 on the ground. It would take some pressure off of Geno and maybe give the offense some rhythm and stability and put us in manageable 3rd down situations.

And all we can hope for from special teams is they don’t lose the game for us. Special teams has been as brutal as the defense. I’d consider it great if we aren’t talking about special teams after the game.

en though I think we’ll win, I’m not quite sure how we’ll get there. A blowout? Getting a big lead early then clinging to it as Oklahoma storms back in the second half? Maybe a close game throughout? I don’t know. But I do think that the defense will put in it’s best performance of the season (which still won’t be that great, but beggars can’t be choosers) and the offense will put in its most consistent performance since we played Texas.

Bailey and Austin will both have huge games, each going for 150 total yards and a touchdown. I also think the running game will show some life – Buie will run for 80 yards with Alston adding 50 yards and a touchdown. WVU will become bowl eligible with a 38-34 victory.

Alan Searles:

My weekly prediction is that I plan to be deep frying a turkey by mid morning. Honestly, that is the most important part of Saturday.

Gold Rush, 2012, V. II.

On paper or via the vaunted Eye Test, the only way we have a chance is to somehow remove the inane mistakes that we have occurred over the past few weeks. How do you predict that? Have a future sensitive DVR or a Flux Capacitor. At least it seems that we can get back to predicting that Austin and Bailey will have big games again and if Geno can narrow down some of the mistakes he made on easy throws last week (is he pressing?), then we could have a monster game on offense, but I have to imagine Landry Jones has a big game.

55-43, OU.

Patrick Pishko:

Once again, we find ourselves in a position similar to previous weeks; a position we have not experienced in quite some time as Mountaineers. I do not believe I have ever publicly stated that the football team will lose a game. I’m sure there have been times where doubts arose, but nary a comment escaped my mouth.

I regret to say that trend will be bucked today: I hope for a win but just do not believe it to be in the cards. OU’s defensive line will be too much tonight. The single coverage offered up by their secondary will provide opportunities, but as we have witnessed, any semblance of pressure on Geno seemingly wrecks any hope for offensive rhythm.

And then there’s Landry Jones…I do not think he’s a spectacular QB, but he is good; if Klein could destroy us with his wonky throwing motion, a better passer in Jones will be a nightmare.

Bold prediction: more Jr. High mistakes will rear their ugly heads helping to give us another L and prevent us from becoming bowl eligible. I hope for the best, but fear the worst.

OU 54- WVU 17.

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