The West Virginia University football team traveled to Norman, Oklahoma to face the 16th ranked Sooners in their first Big 12 match-up.
The Mountaineers demonstrated some fight but not enough to pull off the upset.
"Obviously, disappointed in the loss, proud of how our guys fought" said head coach Dana Holgorsen after the game. "We played hard."
The Mountaineers came out to a hot start. Running back Dreamius Smith made his presence known. Smith broke multiple tackles and rushed for a 75 yard touchdown to put the Mountaineers on the board first. The Mountaineers would finish the night with 169 rushing yards, Smith getting the most yards with 77.
Paul Millard in his second start didn't look all that stellar.
"I know there were a lot of missed opportunities. There were throws, [I] had guys wide open and didn't make the throw" Millard told the media after the game. "We had plenty of chances to make plays through the air, we failed to make them."
Millard concluded the night going 21 for 41 with 218 yards and one interception. The Mountaineers found a big pass gain during the first half from receiver Ronald Carswell. Carswell caught a pass on a perfectly thrown ball by Millard for a 33 yard gain. Carswell in the season opener also caught a long touchdown pass. Carswell may be establishing himself a deep threat for this Mountaineer receiving corps.
The biggest concern for the Mountaineers came in the form of special teams. The undisciplined special teams committed two huge errors that led to the Sooner claiming the lead going into the half. The special teams committed a roughing the kicker penalty after the Mountaineer's defense held the Sooners to a three and out. The penalty allowed the Sooners to continue the drive and put three points on the board.
The second blunder on the special teams came when Mario Alford failed to field a punt cleanly, he fumbled as the Sooners recovered. Trevor Knight marched the Sooners down the field and found an open Trey Millard for a one yard touchdown pass.
When asked about the miscues on special teams, Holgorsen recognized they were costly mistakes.
"Those are the two [plays] that everyone's going to get a ‘C'" said Holgorsen. "Those guys are put in the position to make plays, they got to make plays."
The best looking side of the ball for WVU was the defense. The Mountaineers defense forced two turnovers in the first half. The Mountaineers defense came up with two fumble recoveries. Darwin Cook scooped up a fumbled after the Sooners completed a deep pass to regained possession for the Mountaineers.
The second fumble recovery came when linebacker Brandon Gibson nailed Knight on a big-time hit, causing him to cough up the ball.
The Mountaineers turned the ball over on another fumble too. Millard was called for a fumble on a play that was reviewed to see whether Millard's arm was going forward when the ball was stripped. The Mountaineers lost the challenge and the play resulted in a fumble recovery for the Sooners.
The WVU defense held the Sooners at the goal line during the final drive of the half, holding the Sooners to a 22 yard field goal.
The Sooners led the Mountaineers 13-7 at the half.
A big story for the second half was the continuous lack of discipline for the Mountaineers. Due to mixed signals on offense and the defense not being properly set, the Mountaineers burned all three of their timeouts in the third quarter.
It was the defense again for the Mountaineers that gave them a spark during the second half. The Sooners moved the ball all the way down the field, only to have their scoring hopes derailed by an interception made in the end zone by Darwin Cook.
The interception gave a boost to the team to start the half but it was short lived. Millard gave the ball right back to the Sooners by throwing a pick of his own.
However, the defense bailed the offense out, again. Knight
tossed another interception this time Karl Joseph. The WVU defense at the end of the night only allowed 119
yards through the air and forced four turnovers.
"Defense fought hard, we made a lot of plays" said Joeseph. "We know how good we are."
The defense also allowed 316 rushing yards which really put a damper on the team's chances of winning the game.
"We can only get better from here" Joseph added.
After, Joseph's interception, the offense moved the ball down the field in what appeared to be their best looking offensive drive all night. Millard and crew were faced with a 3rd down and 20. Millard delivered a strike to wide receiver Kevin White; White gained the yardage necessary to pick up the first down but fumbled the football in the process. The Sooners picked the fumble up, ending the Mountaineers excellent offensive drive.
The Sooners made a change at quarterback at the start of the fourth quarter. Blake Bell was inserted into the football game taking over for Knight. The Sooners rushing attack took advantage of the Mountaineers defense leading the team down the field to tack on another field goal.
Having no timeouts came back to haunt the Mountaineers, the team was forced to take a delay of game penalty on a 4th and 3, turning the significant play into a 4th and 8. The Mountaineers failed to convert on fourth down ending a crucial drive
From there on, the Sooners took control of the clock and sealed the deal for the victory over the Mountaineers. The Sooner claimed their first win in the Big 12 conference as they move to 2-0 while the Mountaineers fall to 1-1.