NORMAN, Okla. — Ivan McCartney didn’t blame the Oklahoma safety racing toward him or the glare of the stadium lights that caused him to temporarily lose track of Paul Millard’s pass.
When it came to the third-quarter throw that slipped through his hands at the goal line, McCartney blamed himself.
“No excuses, I dropped the ball.”
On second-and-10 from the Oklahoma 37, McCartney blew past cornerback Zack Sanchez with a stop-and-go move. Though the pass came a tick too late—allowing time for OU safety Gabe Lynn to converge—Millard still delivered a deep ball that found McCartney in stride. With WVU trailing 13-7, it could have been the go-ahead score, but became merely an incompletion.
“I felt like that was it—it was touchdown,” McCartney said. “Momentum was fixing to change, we were fixing to all lock in, and we were going to take the game. Like I said, no excuses. I should have caught the ball.”
WVU overcame the ensuing third-and-10 with a 12-yard screen pass to Wendell Smallwood. After a holding penalty brought up third-and-20 at the 35, Millard found Kevin White on a crossing route that appeared to pick up a first down—at least until Quentin Hayes stripped the ball loose as White went to the turf. Lynn scooped it up at the 14-yard-line and returned it out to the 41.
“We have to get better on our mental mistakes,” said McCartney. “It wasn’t the play-calling, it wasn’t the fact that it was a good defense. We beat ourselves—point blank.”