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Oklahoma football: Sooners venture into college football's outpost

West Virginia University sits in Morgantown, a college football outpost nearly 800 miles from its closest Big 12 bedfellow. The terrain, traditions and stadium are all foreign to Oklahoma, which plays its first-ever game at West Virginia on Saturday at 6 p.m.
by Jason Kersey Published: November 16, 2012

Over the past several years, though, Morgantown has gained some unwelcomed notoriety because of its unruly celebrations after football wins. And the problem hasn't abated during the Mountaineers' inaugural Big 12 season.

Following West Virginia's 48-45 win at Texas on Oct. 6, about 40 fires were set around Morgantown late into the night and early morning. Police needed riot gear, pepper spray and tear gas to battle a crowd of around 1,000 people who threw bottles and rocks at the officers.

Manilla said the town is working on initiatives to curb the violent celebrations.

“We've had a few issues here,” Manilla said. “But we've gotten really good feedback from the fans coming from that area.”

Even though Sooners coach Bob Stoops and his brother, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, haven't played or coached in Morgantown, they might feel a little more at home than most visiting Okies: They'll have family and friends in the stands, coming to watch the game from Youngstown, Ohio, the Stoops' hometown.

“I'm gonna have about 80 people from Youngstown coming,” Stoops said. “Got a couple buses heading that way.”

Most Sooner players said they've never been to West Virginia — safety Javon Harris thinks he may have driven through the state once — but did add they're becoming more accustomed to the faraway school being in their conference.

“At first it was (weird),” said senior defensive lineman Jamarkus McFarland. “I grew up not seeing them in this conference, but now it's just another team.

“They're gonna put teams in the conference; you've gotta have the ability to get on the field with anybody you play. ... When you go to the bowl game, you're not for certain gonna play a Big 12 team, so you have to be ready to play against anybody.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY

There are 27 teams in the six BCS conferences who haven't ever hosted Oklahoma in their home cities.

One of those, West Virginia, hosts the Sooners on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Here's a look at all the BCS-conference teams that have never hosted the Sooners.

ACC

Clemson -- Duke -- Georgia Tech* -- NC State -- Virginia Tech -- Virginia -- Wake Forest

BIG 10

Iowa -- Michigan -- *Michigan State -- Penn State -- *Purdue

BIG 12

**West Virginia

BIG EAST

Connecticut -- Rutgers -- South Florida

PAC-12

Oregon State -- Washington State -- Utah

SEC

Auburn -- Florida -- *Georgia -- LSU -- *Mississippi State -- Ole Miss -- *South Carolina -- Tennessee

* Team has never played Oklahoma in any venue.

** Oklahoma plays at West Virginia on Saturday

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