MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The film from last season’s WVU-Oklahoma touchdown buffet stands obsolete. The Sooners offense no longer revolves around a pocket passer, Mike Stoops’ shredded defense has reassembled into a 3-4, and every Mountaineer who scored a point in that 50-49 breath-stealing loss is gone.
So, as a scouting tool, that four hours of game film is pretty much useless. Though WVU offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson suggested Tuesday, “You could watch it for entertainment, I guess,”
But Shaq Rowell wouldn’t find it entertaining at all. West Virginia’s nose guard was on the field for much of Oklahoma’s game-winning drive, which culminated cruelly with Landry Jones zipping a fourth-and-3 touchdown pass to Kenny Stills, a mere 24 seconds away from the finish line.
“It’s like a nightmare,” Rowell recalled, “and I’m living through it until this weekend.”
Linebacker Isaiah Bruce carries demons of his own, unable to repress the memory of a fourth-quarter interception he let slip through his mitts. Oklahoma recovered to score on that drive, the first of its two touchdowns in the final 4:10.
“I remember I had an opportunity for an interception and I ended up dropping it,” Bruce said. “I was just devastated after that.
“In that last minute, we felt like we had it—we just needed a couple more stops,” Bruce said.
But stops were seldom and precious that night in Morgantown, with Oklahoma producing 662 yards of offense and West Virginia piling up 778—a figure so utterly ridiculous it still seems incomprehensible the Mountaineers did so and lost.
Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin said his obliterated defensive unit treated that win as a loss, embarrassed to have surrendered the most yards in Sooners history. But the aftermath was much more difficult for the actual losers. WVU cornerback Icky Banks took it especially hard, being victimized on the final score when he failed to cut off Stills’ fourth-down slant route at the goal line.
“We was all hyped, the crowd was hyped, everybody was pumped,” said safety Darwin Cook. “(But) the quarterback saw us. We just gave away the coverage, and he gave his little signal … slant, right to Icky. He was down on himself because of that.”
Now comes this week’s rematch in Norman—where No. 16 Oklahoma is 82-5 during Bob Stoops’ 15 seasons—and Cook said his secondary mate is jonesing to make amends.
“Banks has got motivation. He’s ready to come play,” Cook said. “He’s been talking about it since Sunday, right after the (William & Mary) game. He’s been waiting on this opportunity.”
As has Bruce, still tormented by how that case of “linebacker hands” betrayed him, still smarting over the two late leads WVU’s defense couldn’t hold.
“We realize we’re so much better than that and that we can play so much harder than that,” he said. “Definitely, the effort’s going to be there this week. We’re not going to have another event like that.”