MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- The West Virginia football team ended Saturday night pretty much the same way it started it at Texas Memorial Stadium.
"We had to drag guys off the field in warm-ups," WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "They wanted to get out there and play."
In between the pre-game preparation and the post-game celebration, the Mountaineers didn't act much differently. Inside a stadium that never had a crowd as big as the 101,851 that watched WVU's 48-45 win, the Mountaineers soared above the decibel level on a spirit that landed them in the top five for the first time since 2007.
"I've said this before, but what's cool about this team is our guys don't care. They just like to go out and play," Holgorsen said. "They're not going to be intimidated by 100,000-some people or a storied program. All due respect to Texas - it's a phenomenal program, Mack Brown is a phenomenal coach, their guys are really good and they play really hard - but our guys don't care."
WVU (5-0, 2-0) takes a steadying certainty and a commanding confidence into Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game (WCHS) at Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1).
The Red Raiders aren't as steeped in tradition, and though Jones AT&T Stadium set an attendance record last week, it was for more than 40,000 fewer fans than what WVU just saw.
It doesn't matter to the Mountaineers. Winners of nine straight games, they seek their first 6-0 start since 2006 and first 3-0 conference start since 2008 to further cement their status as a national contender.
"We've got the right type of leadership on this team," senior quarterback Geno Smith said. "Guys are not going to be complacent. They're not going to settle for this one win. We're not just happy coming away with a three-point victory. We're on a roll and we want to continue to get better."
The opponent and the environment at Texas provided sizeable hurdles in WVU's first season in the Big 12, to say nothing of first road trip in the new conference, but those were cleared and many concerns were removed.
The remaining games against conference contenders Kansas State and Oklahoma are at Mountaineer Field.
"This is a confidence boost and we needed it," cornerback Pat Miller said. "Texas is a great team. You can't take anything away from them. They gave us their best. They gave us everything they had.
"We know we can play with anybody. We go against the best every day in practice and we came out and got the best from Texas. That was Texas. We'd never played a game with 101,000 people before, but we stepped up and there's nowhere to go but up for us."
The Mountaineers were also slow to credit Texas for all the things it did well. Smith lost two fumbles, one for a touchdown in the second quarter and one to set up a potential field goal to tie the game or touchdown to give the Longhorns the lead in the fourth quarter.
WVU avoided a disaster on the second when Texas missed a field goal, but Holgorsen said Texas was lucky, too, when Smith was sacked and fumbled.