For the first time under head coach Neal Brown, WVU is starting a season with an 0-1 record.
The Mountaineers suffered a 30-24 setback Saturday at Maryland, their first loss in a season opener since 2017 and their first loss to their border rival since 2013. Brown admitted that he was surprised by a number of West Virginia’s deficiencies in that loss, including the big one: turnovers.
“The turnover issue is something I didn’t anticipate,” Brown said.
The head coach, who is now 11-12 all-time at WVU, noted that his postgame speech to his team revolved around adversity. The Mountaineers knew they would face it at some point this season. It came earlier than they may have liked, but they have to respond.
“I know our fanbase is gonna be disappointed on that, and I get that, that’s fair. We’d like to play better, we’d like to play cleaner. That’s fair,” Brown said. “It’s fair for them to be upset, it’s fair for the criticism, but as a football team, we’ve got to continue to get better.”
He added: “We don’t have a choice. We’ve got to respond. We’ve got an 11 game season left. We’ve got to bounce back. We’ve still got a lot to play for.”
Wide receiver Winston Wright Jr., who led WVU with six receptions and racked up 217 kickoff return yards, thinks that response is coming.
“I would say this loss, it’ll bring the team together,” Wright said. “We just gotta battle adversity, and come back to work for practice next week and handle business Saturday.”
West Virginia hosts Long Island Saturday at 5 p.m. in the home opener.