OSU’s Through Domination Not Reflected In Score
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Will Grier threw a career-high four interceptions and West Virginia’s offense never gained traction as No. 11 Oklahoma State throttled the Mountaineers in a game that wasn’t as close at the 50-39 final.
Grier and the offense struggled with timing in the passing game, while WVU’s running game generated just 62 yards. OSU’s Mason Rudolph, meanwhile, threw for 216 yards and three scores in a balanced attack that managed to carve up West Virginia’s defense for the majority of the game in the largely one-sided contest.
The No. 22 Mountaineers (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) were down 30-10 late in the third quarter before Osman Kamara blocked a punt and Marvin Gross recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. That segued into an interception on the ensuing series for Rudolph, when Kenny Robinson undercut a route and returned his first career pick 39 yards for a score. The two touchdowns in 50 seconds pulled WVU within 30-24, and put momentum squarely on its side.
That held as West Virginia forced a three and out as both teams exchanged punts. The Mountaineers then appeared to have Oklahoma State stopped at midfield on the next series when Rudolph misfired on a deep ball to Chris Lacy. But corner Hakeem Bailey was flagged for a phantom pass interference call, gifting the Cowboys a first down. OSU scored seven plays later for a 37-24 lead, and the chances of a comeback were nearly diminished.
They were dashed completely when Grier threw his fourth interception of the game on the next possession with A.J. Green returning it 58 yards to set-up Oklahoma State at the WVU 17-yard line. Rudolph then found James Washington in the end zone for push the edge to 43-24 and seal the game.
The Mountaineers allowed 462 yards on defense, and pieced together just one solid offensive drive with the game in doubt. The defense and special teams, in fact, outscored the offense with the game on the line, while West Virginia had eight drives of five yards or fewer in dropping its 10th game in 11 tries versus ranked foes.
West Virginia trailed 23-10 at the half. The Mountaineers forced a pair of fumbles on the first two OSU drives, byut failed to put any points on the board. The Cowboys completely bottled the running game through the first 25 minutes of play, and held WVU to just 10 yards on the ground until its final drive of the half.
The offensive sluggishness gave OSU nine possessions and 48 plays in the first half, and it put up three touchdowns and a field goal on the next five drives following the fumbles. James Washington, the Big 12’s leading wideout in terms of yardage, took a slant 13 yards for a score before Rudolph chased that with a one yard run to make it 13-0 after a botched PAT.
The teams then traded field goals, WVU getting a 23-yarder from Evan Staley – who played in Mike Molina’s stead – and OSU answering with Matt Amendola’s 35-yarder. The Mountaineers were in position to cut into the lead with five minutes left before Justin Crawford fumble inside the Cowboy red zone. Oklahoma State immediately took advantage, using J.D. King’s 20 yard run on the next snap for a 23-3 lead.
Badly needing a score, West Virginia pieced together an eight-play, 60-yard march over the final 90 seconds of the half. The Mountaineers converted a fourth and two on Kennedy McKoy’s carry off the left side when the back used a second and third effort to push inside the five-yard line. A pass interference then put the ball at the one-yard line before McKoy scored with 20 seconds to play. Staley’s point after trimmed the margin to 23-10 at the break.