Oklahoma has been a regular opponent of West Virginia’s since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012 — but before that, the two teams only met once in a proverbial Old Gold and Blue moon.
The Mountaineers and the Sooners have squared off 11 times in the regular season since 1958, but one particular matchup sticks out in the minds of WVU fans across the country — the 1982 clash in Norman.
WVU had made two prior visits to OU’s Memorial Stadium in 1958 and 1978, leaving empty-handed both times. Not just empty-handed, but destroyed, as they lost by a combined 99-24 in those two fixtures.
The ’82 Mountaineers were destined to change that trend. Barry Switzer ninth-ranked Sooners had sky-high hopes after a disappointing 1981 campaign as they rearmed themselves with the top recruit in the 1982 recruiting class — running back Marcus Dupree.
The Mountaineers, on the other hand, were coming off a Peach Bowl-winning season in 1981 under second-year head coach Don Nehlen. That trophy didn’t give WVU much respect, however — despite finishing No. 19 in the AP poll to end the 1981 season, the Mountaineers entered 1982 without a number next to their name.
The departure of quarterback Oliver Luck could have had a hand in that. WVU had just lost a two-time team MVP and a future WVU Sports Hall of Famer in Luck after he was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers, forcing Nehlen to find a new signal caller.
The onus fell on Penn State transfer Jeff Hostetler, a junior Pennsylvanian who had attempted just 59 passes as a Nittany Lion. Hostetler was flanked by some returning stars, like receivers Rich Hollins and Darrell Miller and running back Curlin Beck, along with some other budding talents on offense.
Defensively, WVU boasted some of the strongest players in school history. Steve Newberry was on the brink of a four-interception season, while up front, Darryl Talley was back after missing the 1981 campaign. Talley came with a caveat, though — on the hot field in the Oklahoma September, he was fighting his own battle as he dealt with a 100-plus degree fever.
The ensuing clash became burned in the memories of West Virginia fans across the country, forever earning a spot in the annals of Mountaineer history — and you can relive it this July on your West Virginia Nexstar station.
Here’s where and when you can catch the replay of the 1982 classic between West Virginia and Oklahoma:
- WOWK (Charleston) — July 17 at 11 a.m.
- WTRF – My Ohio Valley — July 17 at 2 p.m.
- WVNS FOX — July 17 at 8 p.m.
- WBOY – ABC — July 25 at noon