Charlotte, N.C. (ap) — West Virginia had just dropped its second straight game, a heartbreaking overtime defeat at Colorado, and coach Bill Stewart’s critics were howling as he gathered the team.
“We were 1-2, and everybody was wanting to run us out of town,” Stewart recalled Friday. “I never got upset one bit because we’re family, you know? ... Our young men were so resilient that night in Boulder. We all grabbed hands with tears in our eyes and hurting in such a tough way.
“We bonded as a football team — and we went on a pretty good run.”
The Mountaineers won their next five games, before a 2-2 finish revived Stewart’s detractors. The late-season struggles dropped West Virginia (8-4) into today’s Meineke Bowl against North Carolina (8-4).