For West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard, Thursday night's nationally televised game at No. 5 TCU is personal. Fort Worth is his home turf.
Howard went to high school 13 miles from Amon G. Carter Stadium. TCU coach Gary Patterson never had much interest in recruiting the 6-foot, 202-pounder, but then no Power 5 program in the state really did. So Howard when to FCS school Stephen F. Austin -- as a walk on. That didn't work out so it was off to junior college in California.
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That worked well and Howard scraped his way to a spot with the Mountaineers, starting on the scout team to backing up Clint Trickett last year and ultimately taking over as the starter when Trickett got hurt.
Now Howard's back coming back to Fort Worth as a Big 12 starting quarterback to play in front of friends and family and with a chance to ruin the playoff hopes of the nation's fifth-ranked team. But don't mistake this for a told-you-so game for Howard to stick it to TCU for not recruiting the hard-nosed local kid.
Most important is getting the Mountaineers (3-3, 0-3 Big 12) their first win in Big 12 play. They've lost three straight with an incredibly difficult front-loaded conference schedule that went Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and now the Horned Frogs.
"I don't fault them [TCU] for that or anything of that nature," Howard said of the Frogs not recruiting him during the Big 12 media days in August. "I'm not going to go in there hot-headed and try to prove everybody wrong. I don't fault them for that or anything of that nature," Howard said. "I'm not going to go in there hot-headed and try to prove everybody wrong.
"It's one of my goals to prove people wrong that I couldn't do this, but I'm just looking forward to going in there and playing ball."