MORGANTOWN - Playing an FCS school coming off a 2-9 season, West Virginia could well be expected to do just enough to ensure a victory and not tip off too much information to next week's opponent Oklahoma.
But head coach Dana Holgorsen said his Mountaineers can ill afford to overlook William & Mary Saturday unless they plan on being embarrassed in front of the home crowd.
"You can't overlook them or anyone else in that conference," Holgorsen said. "Villanova has won a national championship. Delaware has won a national championship. They've beaten a lot of I-A teams. Last year, William & Mary almost beat Maryland, and the year before that, they beat the University of Virginia. Do we want to be the next ones on that list? I don't think so."
The two teams will tangle in Morgantown at noon Saturday. The game will be televised on the former Speed Channel, now known as Fox Sports 1. WVU will have an earlier than normal conference opener the following week at No. 16 Oklahoma, which hosts the University of Louisiana-Monroe this weekend.
But the difference in the perception of the opponents makes no difference to WVU.
"Actually we talked about how we are going to approach this game," fullback Cody Clay said. "Oklahoma is going to have to play us. They are going to have to watch tape on us and prepare. If they can't stop us, then they just can't. There's no holding back this week."
Holgorsen said the team should be excited about taking on a different color jersey. He said the players are tired of practicing against each other.
"It doesn't matter who we play," he said. "We're tired of doing offense and defense against each other. It's time to focus on somebody else, regardless of who that is, and we should be excited to play."
Holgorsen said he will do whatever it takes to come out of the game with a victory.
"I'm for doing whatever we have to do to move the ball forward," he said. "We're doing whatever we have to do to stop the opposing team from moving the ball. If that means putting your best foot forward, then I highly recommend putting your best foot forward."