NORMAN, OK - Coming into Saturday night's Big 12 Conference opener, WVU had a 0-25 all-time record vs top five opponents on the road. They left 0-26 thanks to an absolute self-imposed implosion in the late portion of the fourth quarter.
West Virginia scored on their opening drive for the fourth straight game and did it methodically. The Mountaineers put together a 17-play, 75-yard drive that took a little over nine minutes off of the clock. Both quarterbacks saw action on that opening series as Doege connected with Bryce Ford-Wheaton for a gain of 16 to keep the drive alive on 3rd & 6 and then found him again on 4th & 4 to move the sticks. Garrett Greene finished the drive off with a 2-yard touchdown rush on a read option to the weak side, giving WVU an early 7-0 lead.
Oklahoma got a little help offensively on their first drive as WVU linebacker Jared Bartlett was flagged for a late hit out of bounds on the kickoff. The penalty gave Oklahoma the ball at their own 48-yard line. West Virginia nearly got off the field but Spencer Rattler dropped one out into the flat to running back Eric Gray for a pick up of 38 on 4th & 4. Oklahoma would go on to tie the game up at seven a piece thanks to a beautiful 5-yard touchdown pass from Rattler to Austin Stogner.
WVU hoped to respond with a similar result as their opening drive but the Mountaineers got behind the sticks. Jarret Doege heaved a ball up to roughly the Oklahoma 20 on 3rd & 14 and was picked off. Although it wasn't a great decision, it worked out as a punt and the Sooners didn't get any points off of it.
West Virginia's defense played exceptionally well in the first half forcing three three and outs and one turnover. Redshirt freshman corner Daryl Porter Jr. deflected a ball up in the air toward the sidelines which allowed Jackie Matthews to come diving out of no where to come away with the interception. Fortunately for Rattler, the interception did not result in a costly turnover.
With just a couple of minutes to go in the first half, WVU forced yet another Oklahoma punt, giving them an opportunity to take the lead into the locker room. Oklahoma forced a 4th and short near the 40 but Neal Brown had enough confidence in his offense to pick up the long yard. Doege got some help from running back Leddie Brown shoving him across the first down marker. Doege then completed a big ball to Winston Wright Jr. for 28 yards to get the drive jumpstarted. After being unable to get out of bounds on a 2-yard completion, WVU spiked the ball and trotted out Casey Legg for the 25-yard field goal attempt. Legg sailed it right through the uprights to give West Virginia a 10-7 lead at the break.
Oklahoma got things rolling quickly as the third play of the 2nd half went for 35 on a completion to Mike Woods. Rattler then dumped one off to running back Jeremiah Hall to pick up the first down and move the ball inside the West Virginia 10. The Mountaineer defense buckled down by getting some pressure on Rattler in the pocket, forcing the Sooners to settle for a field goal to knot the game up at 10.
West Virginia answered right back with a field goal of their own but missed out on a huge opportunity to punch the ball in the end zone. On 2nd & 1 from the 1-yard line, right tackle Parker Moorer got a head start and was penalized for a false start. That backe the Mountaineers up and immediately changed their play calls. On 3rd down, Doege was re-inserted into the game and threw a high pass in the back of the end zone that went off the hands of Ford-Wheaton. Legg connected on the 21-yard kick.
Both defenses came up with several stops going deep into the 4th quarter. West Virginia had a couple of big completions through the air to Ford-Wheaton, helping the offense get all the way down to the 28. Then, bad things transpired. Center Zach Frazier got called for a snap infraction and then there was miscommunication between Frazier and Doege, causing the snap to go way behind Doege who fell on the ball at the WVU 46.
Oklahoma took full advantage of all the Mountaineer miscues and marched the ball right down the field to get in field goal range. Gabe Brkic kicked in the game winning field goal from just 30 yards out.
West Virginia will return home next week to take on Texas Tech in the team's Big 12 home opener.
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