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West Virginia travels to Oklahoma State today

November 10, 2012
By John Wickline Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Today's game will not be the first time Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy will have faced West Virginia and a highly heralded quarterback.

No, Gundy was the quarterback of the 1987 Oklahoma State team that went up against the Mountaineers in the Sun Bowl that season, bringing with them a quarterback who had burst on to the national season in his freshman season Major Harris.

Gundy completed 12 of 16 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown in the Cowboys' 35-33 win, but was overshadowed by the running of game MVP Thurman Thomas. OSU also featured another Hall of Fame back in Barry Sanders.

This will be the first time in Gundy's coaching career that he will face a former assistant coach on the opposite side of the field. WVU's Dana Holgorsen spent a year as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator before being lured to Morgantown by athletic director Oliver Luck

Holgorsen will not be the only familiar face on the opposing sideline for Gundy. WVU defensive coordinator Joe DeForest was part of the OSU staff from 2002-11.

DeForest's 10 seasons with the Cowboys is the third longest stint for an assistant coach there in school history.

WVU running backs coach Robert Gillespie spent two seasons at OSU, and he was part of teams that went to two bowl games.

Jake Spavital, the quarterbacks coach at WVU, spent a year at Oklahoma State as a graduate assistant. His grandfather, Jim, played fullback at OSU on the school's first two teams to go to bowl games.

Andrew McGee, an all-conference defensive back for OSU in 2010, is a graduate assistant coach at WVU. Another graduate assistant coach, Jeff Horocks, spent a year in a similar capacity at Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State, which lost last week to Kansas State, has not lost two games in a row since 2007. WVU is looking to put an end to its three-game skid. The Mountaineers have not lost four straight since 2001.

As an interesting statistical note, WVU's Tyler Bitancurt's 52-yard field goal last weekend against Texas Christian was the longest field goal of the season by Big 12 kickers. Bitancurt, however, is rated last among conference kickers in terms of field goal accuracy, making just four of his 10 attempts.

Bitancurt has also assumed the team's punting duties of late, and WVU is at the bottom of the pack with an average of just 38.3 yards per punt. The average opponent's return is 4.7 yards, which is also at the bottom of the conference.

Tavon Austin leads the Big 12 in all-purpose yardage, averaging 201.9 yards per game when you total his rushing, receiving and return yardage. He also leads the conference with 85 pass receptions. Stedman Bailey is third with 61 catches.

Linebacker Josh Francis leads the conference in solo tackles behind the line of scrimmage (13).

Andrew Buie is the only running back in the Big 12 to have rushed for more than 200 yards per game this season, gaining 207 in a win at Texas. Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle, the conference's leading rusher, has topped the 100-yard mark in six of the Cowboys' eight games.



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