Notes from WVU's overtime loss to Oklahoma State

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia fought back from yet another sluggish first half, but came up short in overtime against No. 21 Oklahoma State at Mountaineer Field.

  • ·         West Virginia’s defense came out with intensity against Oklahoma State, getting in Cowboy quarterback Mason Rudolph face and making big plays. Terrell Chestnut gave the WVU secondary, playing without its leader in Karl Joseph, a spark with an interception on an overthrow by Rudolph on the second drive of the game.
  • ·         WVU wasn’t able to do anything with the early turnover, however, and was ineffective moving the ball on its first few drives. The Mountaineers, who struggled all game against the Sooners with field position, started both of their first two drives inside their own 10, and were unable to flip the field by getting a few first downs.
  • ·         The poor field position finally bit WVU when it started its third straight drive of the game inside its own 10. Skyler Howard mishandled the ball, had it kick back into the end zone, where the Cowboys’ star defensive lineman Emmanuel Ogbah pounced on it for the first score of the game. It was Howard’s sixth turnover in just over a game, after he turned the ball over five times last week at Oklahoma.
  • ·         Ogbah made his presence felt again late in the first quarter, stripping Rushel Shell of the ball and giving the Cowboys’ excellent field position on WVU’s 28 yard line.
  • ·         Much like their in-state rivals, Oklahoma State chose to go right at WVU corner Daryl Worley early and often. Rudolph was able to hit two nice back shoulder throws for big gains against the junior corner early in the game. The second resulted in a critical third down conversion, and allowed Oklahoma State to go in for a score a few plays later.
  • ·         With WVU driving for what looked like it would be its first score of the game, running back Wendell Smallwood was stripped of the ball and Oklahoma State recovered at its own five yard line, crushing WVU’s momentum after registering its third turnover of the game.
  • ·         West Virginia’s defense made another huge play to keep the Mountaineers in the game when defensive lineman Kyle Rose brought down Mason Rudolph in the end zone to bring the score to 14-2 and put the ball back in the offense’s hands.
  • ·         Backup quarterback William Crest saw the most game action of his career tonight, and was featured in both the run and pass game early. Dana Holgorsen said during camp he would like to get Crest the ball as much as possible, but this is the first time he has really factored into the offense so far this season.
  • ·         Skyler Howard was inefficient to say the least in the first half. He connected on just four of his 11 first half passes for a total of 31 yards through the air as West Virginia’s offense was shutout through the first two quarters.
  • ·         The Mountaineers got right back into the game on the first possession of the second half with a seven-play, 66-yard drive that was capped off by a 29-yard TD scamper by Wendell Smallwood. Dana Holgorsen elected to go for it on 4th-and-7 from the OSU 40, and freshman wide receiver Jovon Durante confirmed the coach’s faith in his offense with a tough grab in traffic to keep the drive alive.
  • ·         Daryl Worley atoned for his earlier mistakes with a big-time interception on OSU’s first offensive play following the WVU touchdown. Worley read Rudolph’s eyes, and made a diving grab near the sideline to set WVU up with the ball at its own 46 down by a score.
  • ·         Mason Rudolph broke the back of WVU’s defense with a 40 yard scramble on third-and-long early in the third quarter. The Mountaineers had all his receiving options covered down field, but there was nobody left to spy the quarterback, and Rudolph took advantage. The Cowboys made good on their quarterback’s heady play, converting the drive into a touchdown that pushed their lead to 23-9.
  • ·         Wendell Smallwood went over 100 yards rushing against Oklahoma State. It is the third straight week he has rushed for more than 100 yards. He had done it twice in the previous two seasons all together. Smallwood was a game-time decision tonight because of an ankle injury he suffered early in WVU's loss to Oklahoma, but fought through the pain for another solid performance.
  • ·         Skyler Howard’s second turnover of the day proved to be incredibly costly. After looking out of sync all day, Howard forced the ball into double coverage over the middle on third-and-long and was intercepted, giving the ball to Oklahoma State’s offense in the red zone. The Cowboys only managed a field goal, but those three points pushed their lead back to a touchdown and put the pressure on WVU late in the fourth quarter.

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