With Backs Against the Wall, WVU Must Have Sense of Urgency - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

With Backs Against the Wall, WVU Must Have Sense of Urgency


It does not take a math wizard to notice the obvious fact that Saturday's matchup at Cincinnati is a must-win game for West Virginia University. With three games remaining, WVU must beat first-place Cincinnati to maintain any shot of playing in a BCS bowl game this season.

"We put ourselves in this situation," Quarterback Geno Smith said. "We obviously don't want to be in this situation. We want to be undefeated in Big East play and undefeated in the regular season. We put ourselves in this situation where we got our backs against the wall and we got to go out there and win. I feel like our team is going to respond pretty well."

"This is the situation that we did not want to be in," Defensive End Bruce Irvin said. "Me and Julian and the rest of the seniors, we talked about this after the NC State game last year. We want to be able to control our own destiny. We don't want to have to depend on Louisville to lose or Cincinnati."

The Mountaineers are no strangers to putting themselves in a must-win situation. They faced a similar fate in 2010 when they needed to win their last four games and get some help. The Mountaineers beat Cincinnati, Louisville, Pitt and Rutgers to finish the season with a 5-2 record in Big East play. That was good enough to tie for the Big East title, but WVU did not get enough help to earn a BCS bowl bid.

One year later, the Mountaineers must win out and get some help to go to a BCS bowl. They did it before and the players believe they can do it again.

"I think last year we did a good job of coming together," Offensive Lineman Don Barclay said. "Obviously we were in this position last year and we won out our last four games. Everyone came together and everyone wanted to win and succeed. We did that last year and we're trying to do that this year."

"That proves to the team that we still do actually have a chance," Defensive Back Keith Tandy said. "Guys are still working and know how hard we worked last year to get back into it."

Why were the Mountaineers able to succeed in winning out a year ago? Barclay indicated they came together and said he sees a similar mood in the locker room this time around.

"A lot of guys like each other on this team," Barclay said. "We hang out and we are just trying to belong together. That's all that we can do at this point is bond together and win these last couple of games."

Teams that succeed with their backs against the wall have one thing in common. They realize their situation and play with a sense or urgency. That aspect of football has been missing at times this season.

"We don't play with enough urgency on every down," Smith said. "We have to maximize, including myself, I need to a better job of maximizing every play. A loss of yards or zero yards on a play is a negative in our eyes."

"Going into halftime when we let Louisville score, we needed to play with a little more urgency on that drive," Irvin said. "There were a lot of times in that game that we needed a little more urgency. When it is time to buckle down, we need to buckle down and get a stop and get the offense back on the field."

As the Quarterback of the offense and a team leader, Geno Smith said he intends to make his teammates aware that a sense of urgency is required the rest of the season, "We better (play with more urgency), if we want to win. We see that we can play with anybody when we come out and play hard and that is the simplest thing to do."

The Big East is full of teams top to bottom that can beat each other on any given day. Seven of the eight teams in the league are within two games of first place, meaning the final month of the season should be entertaining.

"In the Big East, you never know," Irvin said. "I consider the Big East one of the craziest leagues because anybody can lose any week. You got to keep fighting. We got to win out. That's obvious. We can't lose no more in the league. Hopefully these guys tighten down, we bust our butt and we finish strong. Whatever happens, happens."

The string of must-win games begins Saturday at Cincinnati.

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