Another Game Of Redemption

Just a little over one year ago, West Virginia suffered its second loss of the season when the Mountaineers fell to Colorado in overtime by the final score of 17-14. The loss was not the Mountaineers' only one of the season but it was certainly the most disappointing, at least in terms of expected outcome.

While many pointed to the East Carolina loss as the lowlight of the year, the fact that West Virginia dropped a game that it should have won against the Buffaloes rankled many just as much, if not more. That loss has been sitting with many of the Mountaineer players for a year, so when they play host to Colorado on Thursday, they are hoping to get back at the Buffaloes with a victory at home.

"I think it's pretty exciting [to be playing Colorado]," said WVU center Eric Jobe, who took over as a starter midway through last year after a career-ending injury to Mike Dent. "I think the Thursday night at home adds to the excitement with ESPN coming and it being on national TV. I think we're all excited. Having the bye week helped get us ready to go. We have a good game plan."

On top of that, WVU has the home field advantage. Although it is always nice to be playing on your home field, it seems as though that edge is upped even more when the Mountaineers play at night.

"The younger guys, I don't think they have really experienced it yet," Jobe said of the atmosphere. "The veterans, they're looking forward to another night game. I have been a part of a couple. I think this is my first time starting a Thursday night game so it's a little different for me. It will be exciting to get out there under the lights."

For the second straight year, the Mountaineers will be taking on Colorado after suffering a loss in their previous game. Last year, West Virginia traveled to Colorado after the loss to the Pirates. This season, the Mountaineers are recovering from a disappointing loss at Auburn, and have had a few extra days to prepare.

"I think a bye week helps really with any game," said Jobe. "There's more film you get to watch. There's more practice. [We were able to] get looks at the defense and just working on the little things. Correcting things from the previous games. I wouldn't want a bye week every week but it was a good one to have."

Having 12 days to prepare for the game has not only helped the Mountaineers physically but it has helped them to take care of any mental mistakes that occurred against the Tigers. That has been a focal point of preparations since the Auburn loss. "I know Coach Stewart has been talking about the mental aspect and that we have to have a mental toughness," said Jobe. "We have been going out there and hitting in full pads and shells. I think that helps when people get tired and people can still do what they're supposed to. That's mental toughness. That's what we have been doing. Having the week off we have been able to have that many more practices and I think that's helped."

Jobe and his linemates are hoping to get WVU's rushing game revved up to even higher levels. Although West Virginia has been very good at running the ball this year, they are looking for junior running back Noel Devine to have a breakout game.

"I really don't know what the play calling is going to be like but when our number is called we are going to get out there," said Jobe. "I know Noel [Devine] has been running extremely hard against Auburn and fighting for extra yards. I'm sure we will see that again and then we will pass protect on pass plays and hopefully Jarrett [Brown] can throw for 300 yards."

Whether the Mountaineer offense has a big game on the ground or through the air, there's no doubt that the extended preparation will pay off when the Mountaineers play on Thursday night. With WVU's record playing under the lights on Thursday night, there's no doubt that Jobe and his teammates are prepared to put on quite the show.


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