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West Virginia Gets Another Chance to Beat Quality Foe

December 20, 1987|PATRICK McMAHON | United Press International

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia, which nearly beat Pitt, Penn State and Syracuse this season, gets another chance to defeat a quality team in the Sun Bowl.

"We've come close but we never got the cigar," linebacker Eric Lester said. "I don't know why. I's difficult to say."

The unanswered questions lie in a 6-3 loss to Pitt in Morgantown, a 25-21 defeat at Penn State and a 32-31 loss at Syracuse. The Mountaineers were in position to win each game.

"I was kind of disappointed," freshman quarterback Major Harris said, "I was not disappointed at our but how the games turned out. There were some games we could have won but the ball didn't bounce our way.

"The bowl game could be the game that we overcome all that. That could knock out everything."

West Virginia, 6-5, is scheduled Monday to hold its first of four practices in El Paso, Texas, in preparation for Oklahoma State Christmas Day. The Mountaineers are one of only four bowl teams with five losses. The others are Tulane, Florida and Texas.

West Virginia allowed Penn State to erase an 11-point deficit in the game's last 10 minutes.

"Maybe if the team works a little harder and reaches for that extra inch," Lester said. "I think if we go into the (Sun Bowl) game with a little more punch, we can do it."

The Mountaineers have beaten only one winning team this year -- Rutgers. Many in Texas are mocking Sun Bowl executives for picking the Mountaineers to play Oklahoma State, 9-2.

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