Despite leading or being tied for nearly all of the contest, the West Virginia Mountaineers added another loss to their road streak after falling to the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, 16-13.
The Mountaineers (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) went blow-for-blow with Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) all game, even setting up a potentially game-winning drive in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter. Grave mistakes cost WVU, however, and gave the struggling Sooners the opportunity to steal the win in front of their home fans in a slugfest.
WVU started quickly and efficiently on its opening possession. Neal Brown used everything at his disposal offensively to call a 17-play, 75-yard scoring drive to open with a Garrett Greene rushing touchdown, while taking over nine minutes off the clock. Jarret Doege had a strong start as well, completing seven of his first nine passes to help move the ball down the field
Oklahoma answered immediately, though, adding its first touchdown after three minutes, when Spencer Rattler capped off a 7-play drive with a 5-yard pass to Austin Stogner.
Both defenses kicked into gear for the next several drives, as West Virginia’s Casey Legg gave the Mountaineers the lead with a chip shot as the first half clock expired.
Oklahoma started with the ball to start the second half, and opened with a field goal from Gabe Brkic to tie it, sparking a back-and-forth defensive battle. Ultimately, however, the game came down to some West Virginia miscues.
WVU took the lead again on the ensuing drive, pushing the ball right up to the goal line. A false start penalty on Parker Moorer canceled a potential touchdown play for Leddie Brown however, then a missed connection between Doege and Bryce Ford-Wheaton in the back of the end zone forced WVU to settle for a field goal.
That seemed to swing momentum in favor of the Sooners, who later tied the game on an 8-plus minute drive that brought the game well into the second quarter. West Virginia still had plenty of time to take the lead back with the ball, and began marching down the field — the drive stalled, however, when WVU center Zach Frazier was called for a snap infraction, followed by a missed snap that resulted in a 21-yard loss to bring up 3rd and very long.
WVU was forced to punt, allowing Oklahoma to move the ball down the field and set up the game-winning field goal from Brkic. In fact, Oklahoma’s first lead of the game came when the ball went through the uprights with no time on the clock.
Doege finished the contest 20-for-29 with 160 yards and an interception. Rattler fought off jeers from his home fans to finish 26-for-36 with 256 yards and a touchdown. Greene also saw some snaps for WVU, throwing 3-for-4 for 19 yards, while adding 15 rushing yards and the score.
The Mountaineers also notched their first pick of the season off Rattler, as Daryl Porter Jr. tipped a pass in the second quarter that Jackie Matthews grabbed for the turnover.
In general, WVU struggled to get the ground game going. Leddie Brown got 15 touches for 56 yards, while the team totaled just 47. Oklahoma didn’t do much better, rushing for 57 yards as a team.
Bryce Ford-Wheaton of WVU led the game with 97 receiving yards, while Winston Wright added another 65 yards for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia returns home for its first conference game at Milan Puskar Stadium against Texas Tech on Saturday. Kickoff is set for