The West Virginia Mountaineer Football team came away with an important Big 12 conference victory over No.11 Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon.
After some were ready to toss in the towel on the season, WVU (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) responded in a big way, picking up their first conference victory. The final score ended at 30-21.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen inserted quarterback Clint Trickett into the starting lineup. This came in the wake of redshirt freshman Ford Childress’s torn chest muscle injury.
Trickett turned in a solid effort, one in which the Mountaineers sorely needed, finishing the game 24 of 50 for 309 yards passing. He threw two interceptions on the day, but it was his ability to move around the pocket and deliver the ball that really helped a struggling WVU offense.
“He did what we thought he could do, which was be a ball player. He keeps the play alive. I’m just really proud of him. He’s tough … and he doesn’t get rattled,” said head coach Dana Holgorsen.
The real story on this day was the West Virginia defense. They forced three Oklahoma State turnovers and picked off Cowboys quarterback J.W. Walsh twice, returning one for a score. Walsh went 20 of 47 for 322 yards, he also ran 16 times for 52 yards.
West Virginia was able to get pressure on Walsh all-day-long, forcing him to get outside the pocket and make inaccurate throws on the run.
A huge momentum swing for the Mountaineers came on cornerback Ishmael Banks 58-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter. It was part of 13 points the Mountaineers scored off Oklahoma State’s three turnovers, which are more turnovers than the Cowboys (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) had in their first three games combined.
Seemingly, everything went the way of the Mountaineers on Saturday. The defensive line came up big, holding Oklahoma State to just 111 yards on the ground.
Holgorsen was quite proud of his defense as he remarked after the game.
“Golly, they played well,” he said. “They created turnovers. They stuck people. They made plays in key situations. They set up scores.”
WVU did miss two field goals in the second half, luckily it didn’t come back to bite them. The Mountaineer offense put together a nice 70-yard drive to tie the game at 7-7 when Trickett hit receiver Kevin White for a 17-yard score.
Trickett connected on some of his down-field passes which really helped WVU’s offense get into a rhythm for the first time this season. The offensive line still has a lot of work to do after today. Charles Sims led the Mountaineers with only 60 yards rushing.
Both teams combined for 177 offensive plays. The Mountaineer defense held Oklahoma State to only 6 for 20 on third down conversions.
It’s hard to believe this defense, for the most part, has the same guys playing as last season. What a difference a year makes, it’s like night and day, WVU looks so much more competitive in that regard.
West Virginia did have some clock management blunders when it came down to crunch time, even running the ball out of bounds with only a minute and some change on clock.
Special teams really needs some work as well, receiver Ronald Carswell looked lost at times out there on punts and kick-off returns, receiver Jordan Thompson was also catching punts inside the 5-yard-line.
It’s hard to complain at the end of the day though, a win is a win after-all, and this is certainly a big one for the program.
Now, it’s on to Baylor!