GAME RECAP: Five turnovers cost No. 22 WVU in loss to No. 11 OK- - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

GAME RECAP: Five turnovers cost No. 22 WVU in loss to No. 11 OK-State

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By Ryan Decker

MORGANTOWN – In matchups between two high-powered offenses like No. 11 Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1) and No. 22 West Virginia (5-3, 3-2), the team that strikes first sets the tone.

On Saturday, Oklahoma State struck first, but it was West Virginia that started striking when it mattered in the second half.

In the end, though, too many turnovers by the Mountaineers gave Oklahoma State too many opportunities to score, which it did more times than not in the Cowboys 50-39 win in front of a poncho-covered Milan Puskar Stadium.

West Virginia trailed by as many as 20 points in the third quarter. Oklahoma State converted an interception into a touchdown with 11:21 to go in the third, taking a 30-10 lead.

Another interception thrown by WVU quarterback Will Grier appeared like it would give the Cowboys all momentum, but they immediately gave all momentum back to the home team.

Osman Kamara blocked a punt in the end zone that was recovered by the Mountaineers for one score. Then, less than a minute later, Kenny Robinson intercepted a pass from Mason Rudolph and returned it 39-yards to pull WVU back to within one score, 30-24.

A score early in the fourth quarter once again gave Oklahoma State a two-touchdown lead. Grier’s fourth interception of the game midway through the fourth was the final straw, leading to seven more points by the Cowboys, who took a 43-24 advantage.

For the game, Oklahoma State scored 27 points off the five Mountaineer turnovers.

Rudolph was responsible for a pair of first-quarter touchdowns that gave Oklahoma State the early advantage.

He led the Cowboys on an eight-play drive that started around midfield and ended on a short pass to his top wide receiver James Washington, who received a crucial block before going free into the end zone.

Later in the opening period, OK-State ran a par of plays from the one-yard line, with Rudolph keeping the ball himself on the read-option, and diving across the plane to give Oklahoma State a 14-0 lead.

Rudolph finished the game 20-for-34 passing, for just 216 yards, four total touchdowns, and one interception.

The Cowboys dominated most of the second period as well, scoring a pair of touchdowns to take a 23-3 lead with just under five minutes left in the first half.

On the three possessions following the Evan Staley field goal, West Virginia ran just ten plays and managed just nine yards, with its only first down coming on a penalty. The Mountaineers also turned the ball over, which led to a Cowboy touchdown on the ensuing play.

WVU was finally able to move the ball at the end of the first half. Kennedy McKoy moved the chains on a seven-yard run, and Grier hooked up with Ka’Raun White downfield for a 36-yard pitch and catch to move inside the red zone. McKoy plowed his way into the end zone with 20 seconds remaining.

The late score cut OK-State’s lead to 23-10 entering the break.

Oklahoma State outgained the Mountaineers by over 100 in the first half, and defensively, limited WVU to just thirty rushing yards. West Virginia was also 0-6 on third down conversions.

For the game, WVU was just 2-15 on third downs.

WVU didn’t get off to any better of a start in the second half, with Grier throwing an interception on the team’s opening possession, leading to his first multi-interception game of his college career.

Grier ended the game with a total of four interceptions compared to just two touchdowns and completed less than half his passes for 285 yards. It’s the first game this season in which he didn’t eclipse 300 passing yards.

Like with the earlier turnover, Oklahoma State quickly turned it into seven points to take a 20-point lead once again.

The two teams combined for nine turnovers, including a combined four fumbles.

Outside of the early third-quarter touchdown, Oklahoma State didn’t have much success in the period, turning the ball over twice and suffering a pair of miscues on special teams.

West Virginia’s five turnovers were the most in one game since Oct. 3, 2015, against Oklahoma. The four forced turnovers were the most since the regular-season finale last year against Baylor.

For the second time in the last three games, West Virginia was held under 100 yards as a team carrying the football.

On the other side, Oklahoma State’s JD King toted the rock 36 times for 142 yards. He and fellow running back Justice Hill combined for three scores.

Defensively, David Long was all over the place for West Virginia, finishing with a team-high 17 tackles including six tackles for loss.

West Virginia is back in action at home next weekend against No. 25 Iowa State. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.  

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