MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Over the last two years, 20 FCS football programs have knocked off an FBS counterpart.
Among the two FCS-over-FBS upsets on Sept. 11, 2021, was Duquesne pulling out a 28-26 win over Ohio.
So far this year, Football Bowl Subdivision programs are 42-0 against Football Championship Subdivision competition. West Virginia wants to make sure it is not added to the list of FBS teams to be upset by a member of the secondary division of Division I college football.
“We can’t look past nobody, because any given day a team like them can come in here and beat us and upset us,” redshirt junior defensive lineman Mike Lockhart said. “So you got to make sure everything, our Ps and Qs, [is taken care of].”
West Virginia is 23-0 all-time against FCS opponents, most recently defeating Towson 65-7 last season. As a head coach, Neal Brown is 8-0 against Football Championship Subdivision programs.
However, the Mountaineers are just 4-3-1 all-time against the Dukes, and have lost three of the last four matchups. It’s worth noting, though, that the ballpoint pen had not yet been invented the last time the two teams played on the gridiron.
At any rate, the Mountaineers (0-1) can’t afford to overlook Duquesne (1-0), which is coming off a 49-7 win over Edinboro.
“We treat every team the same. That’s what you got to do,” wideout Devin Carter said. “They’re not a bad team. So, we can’t take them lightly. We got to put our foot on the gas and just go.”
Last year’s home-opener against the Tigers is typically how West Virginia’s contests against FCS programs have gone. But that’s not to say WVU hasn’t been tested in such games.
Take the 2013 matchup against William & Mary. West Virginia, a heavy favorite entering its second year in the Big 12 Conference, went back into the locker room trailing the visiting Tribe by 10 points at halftime. Seventeen unanswered points after the intermission gave Dana Holgorsen’s crew a stress-inducing 24-17 victory in the season-opener.
Brown’s 2023 Mountaineers don’t want to be in the same situation.
“We’re hungry to get a win. We’re an 0-1 football team until we get a win, and we need a win,” said Brown. “It’s a group that we respect. They’ve got good players. They’re local. If you look at their roster, most of their talent is within a three-hour radius, so they’ll be hungry to play right here on Mountaineer Field. And we’ll get their best shot.”
Saturday’s game against the Dukes starts a three-game homestand for West Virginia. It is also sandwiched between two historical rivalry games, including the Backyard Brawl’s return to Morgantown for the first time since 2011.
Trap game? Sure. But, as the Mountaineer can ill afford to start this season 0-2, there’s no overlooking their Week 2 opponent.
“It’s a new opportunity this week, and that’s all we can do,” tight end Kole Taylor said.