West Virginia’s ground game was ineffective for a second straight week, limited to 2.2 yards per carry. (U.S. PRESSWIRE)
Best performance for a receiver that couldn’t stop a four-game slide: West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey was back to his old self with a 14-catch day for 225 yards. But the Mountaineers’ offense still didn’t do enough to keep pace with Oklahoma State.
Worse job of following the bouncing ball: Normally sure-handed return man Tavon Austin was the victim of two crazy hops, including a punt that kicked sideways into him at his own 11. But even more zany was the squib-kick nightmare that bounded over Cody Clay, off Andrew Buie’s helmet and then glanced off Austin’s shin. The Cowboys recovered at the WVU 14 and kicked a field goal. “I think it had hit Cody Clay and then Buie by the time it got me,” Austin said. “Buie ran into me so I really didn’t see where the ball was at.”
Worst job of following a perfectly thrown ball: West Virginia freshman receiver Jordan Thompson ran uncovered down the middle of the field only to stumble and fall as Geno Smith’s pass slipped through his arms. Said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson: “You’ve got to make those plays. When you’ve got guys running wide-open, you’ve got to make it, and we’re not right now.”
Best jump-ball grab: Oklahoma State’s 6-foot-2 receiver Charlie Moore used a three-inch height advantage on Mountaineers cornerback Pat Miller to bring down a 5-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
Worst way to flub a pick-six: With no tacklers in reach, WVU linebacker Terence Garvin stepped out of bounds at the 1 on a 42-yard interception return, nixing what should have been a defensive touchdown. Geno Smith got the glory one play later on a quarterback sneak.
Best third-string quarterback: With Wes Lunt out for at least another week and J.W. Walsh out for the season, OSU’s Clint Chelf triggered a series of big plays in his first college start. The junior from Enid, Okla., completed 22-of-31 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns. “I’m so happy for him,” said Cowboys offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “That’s why you do it — we’re in this game for the guys you coach. When guys stay here as long as he has and work as hard as he has, you just hope that it works out for him like it did.”
Best second-string quarterback: WVU’s Paul Millard, a hats-off replacement for Geno Smith on a fourth-down play, lofted a 37-yard touchdown pass to Bailey.
Worst sign of alleged improvement: After making strides against TCU, the Mountaineers defense looked soft again in Stillwater, allowing 6.7 yards per play. “From last week to this week, it was a step back,” said linebacker Isaiah Bruce.
Best field-flipping punt: With OSU pinned inside its own 1, punter Quinn Sharp crushed a 74-yard punt and netted 63.
Worst time for the run game to vanish: West Virginia averaged 2.2 yards per carry for the second straight week. The Mountaineers gained only 78 yards on the ground against a defense that had been allowing 135 per game. Shawne Alston was expected to provide a boost, but his lone carry went for zero yards on a fourth-and-goal from the 2.
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Defensive coordinator Joe DeForest on the loss to Oklahoma State: