Oklahoma football: West Virgina's last trip to Norman put Jeff Hostetler in the spotlight

COMMENTARY — Mountaineers QB carved up OU defense back in 1982.
by Berry Tramel Modified: September 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm •  Published: September 3, 2013

Hostetler's two older brothers had been Penn State linebackers, and another brother then was the third baseman on Penn State's baseball team. But Hostetler grew restless at the thought of sitting behind Blackledge; Hostetler transferred to West Virginia and sat out the 1981 season.

Switzer remembers the Sooners knowing beforehand what a threat Hostetler was. But Bobby Proctor, the defensive backfield coach all 16 of Switzer's seasons, said OU didn't prepare for West Virginia any differently.

“We didn't know he was going to be that kind of player,” Proctor said.

It showed. In the '82 season opener, Hostetler had a game for the ages. Six of his completions went for at least 30 yards, and the Mountaineers wiped out that 14-0 deficit with 20 points in the final 6:05 of the first half.

“Just one of those days,” Hostetler said. “I think it was the type of offense we had. We felt like we could throw the ball against 'em. Type of team they had, types of teams they played. We were able to spread the field.

“Sometimes when you get somebody on their heels, and they're not real confident, get hit a couple of times, their confidence starts to fade.”

That wasn't a bad OU defense. It held Southern Cal to 12 points. Texas to 22. Only Nebraska (28) scored more than 14 against OU in Big Eight play.

But those Sooners, with Rick Bryan at tackle, and Kevin Murphy at end, and Jackie Shipp and Thomas Benson at linebacker, and Scott Case and Keith Stanberry in the secondary, had no answer for West Virginia.

“We couldn't get to him,” Proctor said. “You know what they say. If you can't rush, defend. If you can't defend, rush. Hell, we didn't do either.”

Hostetler became a West Virginia star. He married the coach's daughter, Vicky; they're still together, living in Morgantown, where Hostetler has a construction company and coaches Trinity Christian's fledgling high school football program.

And now his Mountaineers come back to Norman, this time as fellow members of the Big 12. It's not hard to make the argument that a certain game in 1982 helped lay the road for West Virginia to find its way to this conference.

“Once it gets going, it's contagious,” Hostetler said of big victories. “That's kind of where we're at. I'm proud to be part of what I think was a program-changer.”

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.


Born: April 22, 1961, Hollsopple, Pa.

High school: Conemaugh Township (Pa.)

College: Penn State (1979-80), West Virginia (1982-83).

NFL: Giants (1985-92), Raiders (1993-96), Redskins (1997).

W-L record as starter: 51-32.

Playoff record: 4-1.

Pro Bowl: 1994.

Current residence: Morgantown, W.Va.

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