20 WVU Players Return to Sunshine State for USF Game - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

20 WVU Players Return to Sunshine State for USF Game

TAMPA, Fla. -

One glance at the West Virginia University football roster and you will probably notice there are a lot of players from Florida wearing the old gold and blue. 24 players on the roster are from West Virginia. Next in line is the state of Florida, which sent 20 players to Morgantown.

WVU Quarterback Geno Smith is one of those 20 players returning to the sunshine state for this game.

"When you see those palm trees and the sun is out and you have that good weather, you think about home," Smith said. "But, we can't focus on that. It could be a distraction. We have a game to play and we have to make sure we are ready to play that game and that we are ready to go out there and fight a tough opponent in South Florida."

The state of Florida typically sends a large number of players to WVU. The Mountaineers have not played well in Tampa over the years despite the added incentive of playing well in front of their family and friends. WVU is 1-2 against USF in three games played at Raymond James Stadium.

USF is just 5-6 overall and 1-5 in the Big East. There is not expected to be a big crowd at this game. That should make it easier on players from the state of Florida to get tickets for their family and friends.

"I need some tickets," Geno Smith said. "If you find some, let me know."

Smith is trying to prepare for an active defensive line at USF. He is not spending very much time tracking down tickets.

"Those things have never been an issue for me," Smith said. "My mother does a great job of making sure I'm not distracted by anything like that. I'm going to focus on the game and making sure we are ready to play."

Head Coach Dana Holgorsen said he understands players have family and friends that want to see them.

"We allow family to come to the hotel," Holgorsen said. "But there's time set aside for when you can meet with friends and family in the lobby. Ultimately, It's about going to play the game and winning it. It's not about a family reunion or visitation or any of that stuff. I'm sympathetic with them that if they want an hour to visit family and give them a hug, that's fine. We've still got meetings, still have to get them into the rooms, get them to bed, get up and have walkthroughs, and get to the game."

Should WVU win this game against South Florida, the players may earn some extra time at home with their family for Christmas while they prepare for a BCS bowl game. For that to happen, WVU must beat South Florida and Cincinnati must win against UCONN on Saturday.

If either one of those situations does not occur, WVU will likely be heading to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 27.

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