The Mountaineers were 3-5, hadn't won a game in more than a month and were in need of a win or else their shot at a winning season would be gone and they'd be that much closer to having their hopes of returning to another bowl game taken away.
"The seniors were getting together and they didn't want to be the first losing team in a while and it's important to go to a bowl game," said West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen. "That's where leadership comes in. We don't have a ton of seniors, and the seniors don't have to be the leaders of the group, but we do have some seniors on the defense and on the offensive line that I've been very impressed with and very proud of.
"They're not letting this team quit and they're just focusing on trying to get better each and every week."
What resulted was last Saturday's 30-27 overtime victory against TCU in Fort Worth. It was the Mountaineers' first road win since last November against Iowa State and was just their second overtime win since 2006.
At one point late in the second half, WVU looked like it was going to suffer a similar fate as it had in past weeks as the Horned Frogs scored 10-straight points in the final three minutes of regulation to force the game into overtime. But that was when the defense made a big stop and Josh Lambert came through with the game-winning field goal.
"We just hung in there and kept playing," Holgorsen said. "I was proud of the way the guys handled the sidelines. If we were down, they were encouraging each other. When we were up they were encouraging each other. Everybody just kind of pulled it together and kept playing."
A big key to West Virginia's success on offense was running back Charles Sims. The senior who transferred from Houston carried the ball 24 times for 154 yards - the most rushing yards ever against a Gary Patterson-coached defense at TCU.
"It's probably because we gave it to him a good bit," Holgorsen said of Sims' success against the Horned Frogs. "He's been our most productive player every game. He's such a versatile player.
"I challenge you to find anybody across the country that does more for their team than Charles does for us."