The WVU football team is truly searching for a signature win under the realm of head coach Dana Holgorsen.
The Mountaineers were able to wallop Clemson in the 2012 Orange Bowl, but that is about it in terms of spectacular upset victories. At home or on the road in the regular season, the WVU football team hasn’t pulled off a win that will go down in the history books as one of the best in program history.
Basically, a win that warrants a “storming the field” moment for the fans hasn’t happened in more than a decade. The last time WVU football fans stormed the field at Milan Puskar Stadium was Oct. 22, 2003 when the unranked Mountaineers beat No. 3 Virginia Tech. The 28-7 victory on a Thursday night was probably the last time the fans attempted to successfully storm the field. After that incident, WVU officials pretty much stopped the practice from happening again.
Easily collapsible goalposts were established which tried to sway fans from even thinking that tearing down the goalposts were ripe for the taking. But since 2003, WVU football fans probably haven’t even thought about storming the field because there hasn’t been a huge upset victory like the one that occurred against the Hokies in 2003.
When Auburn beat Alabama on Saturday to earn a spot in the SEC title game, fans stormed the field. The Tigers claimed the SEC West title and the university was fined $25,000 according to CBS Sports because the fans packed the field following the game.
In the Big 12, since 2005, there have been ongoing discussions about fines and regulations when fans choose to storm the playing surface after a big win. Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby has tried to establish some rules regarding the practice. At Big 12 Media Days a few years ago, according to NewsOK.com, Bowlsby spoke on regulating how fans celebrate after big wins.
"“We’re taking a little different approach than others. We are choosing to manage it rather than prohibit it. That is a daunting task, no doubt about it. We think that, properly managed, those kinds of celebrations can be a lot of fun.”"
The WVU football team hasn’t given the fans a reason to attempt to storm the field at home, but on a few occasions since joining the Big 12 the WVU basketball team has allowed fans to rush to court.
West Virginia has beaten Kansas four out of the five teams it has played the Jayhakws at the WVU Coliseum. On at least three of those occasions, West Virginia fans have rushed the court. It is not clear if any fines were laid down, but the practice seemed to be accepted by WVU players and staff, as well as the security team at the arena.
Storming the field or court is what makes college sports so great. The fans, mostly students, are allowed to celebrate in a more personal sense with their peers. Though sometimes things get out of hand and players, coaches and other students can be injured in the melee.
That’s why the SEC is strict on fining its schools when something like this happens. The fine is meant to lay down the law and force these programs to remember what happens when a rule is broken.
Conversely, storming the field is a memory that lasts a lifetime for a college student. Good memories also come from winning games. This new era of WVU football needs to start doing that on a consistent basis. The players, fans and coaching staff should be ready for more reasons to celebrate.