Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

October 02, 2018 at 8:01 pm.

Mountaineers can’t afford to take Kansas lightly

Four wins to open the season has vaulted West Virginia into the ninth spot in the latest Associated Press poll, but the Mountaineer can’t afford to rest on their considerable laurels, even with perennial Big 12 doormat Kansas heading to Morgantown for a Saturday afternoon tussle.

The problem is that the Mountaineers (4-0, 2-0 in Big 12 play) have not played a complete game yet in league play, a scenario that — if it continues — could derail West Virginia’s Big 12 title aspirations when the wheat is separated from the chaff in November.

“We have to line up, and we have to practice with as much effort and energy and excitement as we can,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said about Kansas week during his weekly media availability on Tuesday.

“We have to practice that way on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. And if you don’t, then you’re going to get beat. We have stuff to work on, and we have to approach this in a very business-like manner. They pose a lot of problems like everybody does.”

The Mountaineers had to repel a second half comeback on the road last week against Texas Tech, winning 42-34 after building a 35-10 lead at halftime. West Virginia needed a fourth-quarter interception return by Kenny Robinson, Jr. to clinch the victory.

Despite being undefeated, Holgorsen feels as if his team is a little behind because of the game at North Carolina State it had cancelled because of Hurricane Frances.

“Because we missed the one game, I feel like we have things that we have to learn with this team,” Holgorsen explained. “We’re one game away from the halfway point, but it doesn’t feel like it. We’ve played one-third of our games.

“I’m going to use that with our guys as far as this week is big from a we-have-to-get-out-there-and-improve-things-before-it’s-too-late-to-improve-on-things-type thing, which should motivate them here for this week, and I think it will. We’re all anxious to get out there and get the bad taste out of our mouth from the second half of last week.”