The Mountaineers couldn’t recover after a 2-yard touchdown run by the Cowboys in an overtime game at Milan-Puskar Stadium filled with a homecoming crowd on Saturday. WVU football Head Coach Dana Holgorsen said after the game, “You’ve got to put together four good quarters in the Big 12 to win football games and right now we are not capable of doing that.” Similar to last week’s loss to Oklahoma, West Virginia had another rough start against No.21 OSU.
The first two quarters of the game were wrought with mistakes from the Mountaineers. A fumble by Skyler Howard early in the game was recovered by Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah which put an early 7 points on the board for the Cowboys. WVU was able to hold Oklahoma at 7 – 0 for the remainder of the 1st quarter, but at the beginning of the 2nd, a fumble by Rushel Shell gave the Cowboys the opportunity to score. At the Mountaineer 28, a sequence of five plays gave OSU’s Rennie Childs a scoring opportunity from the 1-yard line. WVU was down 14-0. The Mountaineers would turn the ball over for the third time after a 59 yard push to the Cowboy’s 15. Wendell Smallwood had an opportunity for a first-down until Chad Whitener stripped Smallwood of the ball, which was then recovered by Jordan Sterns at the OSU 5-yard line. WVU lost the touchdown opportunity and may have gone into half-time without a point on the board, but Kyle Rose‘s sack on Cowboy quarterback Mason Rudolph in the end zone gave the Mountaineers 2-points.
For every mistake West Virginia made during the first half, they topped with impressive play in the second. Smallwood opened up WVU scoring early in the 3rd quarter with a 29-yard run to the OSU end zone. Howard answered for his earlier fumble with what would be the most impressive play in the game. Howard threw a deep pass to Shelton Gibson which resulted in a 48-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 23-16. Howard pumped even more adrenaline through the stadium when he ran the ball into the end zone with 2:44 left in the 4th quarter, tying the score.
The Mountaineers began overtime with their defense, and after several plays, OSU’s Walsh carried the ball in for a touchdown on 4th-and-goal from the Mountaineer 2. The Mountaineers answered back during their possession with a push beginning with Shell‘s 5-yard run and ending with a first down at the Cowboy’s 9. Shell may have been able to run the ball in for a touchdown, but chose to take a route on the outside, leading him straight into Jordan Burton and Tre Flowers and a 7-yard loss. Howard‘s throw to Daikiel Shorts Jr. that would have tied the game ended in an in-completion and, ultimately, a loss for our Mountaineers
Who Stood Out
Though the Mountaineers struggled offensively, the defense showed up to match the amount of turnovers by West Virginia to OSU. Early in the game, corner back Terrell Chestnut ran under a Rudolph pass and made the interception with ease inside of the Cowboy’s 10, giving Chestnut his second interception on the season, and the third in his career. Daryl Worley intercepted a pass intended for Oklahoma State’s Marcell Ateman inside the Cowboy’s 50, marking his 2nd interception of the season and 6th in his career. The final WVU interception came from Nick Kwiatkoski (his first since 2013 and 4th in his career) who caught the ball, intended for OSU wide receiver James Washington, off the shoulder of Chestnut.
The three interceptions made by the West Virginia defense gave WVU 16 takeaways this season, topping their previous year’s total of 14. WVU is now the 8th college football team since 2000 to have 13 or more interceptions in the first 5 games of the season.
Preparing for Baylor
After another lack-luster performance by WVU in the first half, it’s clear that the Mountaineers need to start capitalizing on opportunities earlier in the game. Facing No. 3 Baylor on the road next Saturday, the Mountaineers will have to do exactly what Holgorsen commented to the media – play all 4 quarters. West Virginia, as-of-yet, in the Big 12 has become a “second-half” team. While the fans admire their drive when the team comes into the 2nd half ready to make a comeback, the offense will have to work on putting numbers on the board early in the game without conceding any turnovers.