Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma running back Brennan Clay, here chased by WVU cornerback Travis Bell, ran for 170 yards as the Sooners beat the West Virginia Mountaineers 16-7.


NORMAN, Okla. — Brennan Clay ran for a career-high 170 yards, Damien Williams added 95 and No. 16 Oklahoma went old-school to grind out a 16-7 victory over West Virginia in a low-scoring slugfest.

A year after the teams played a 50-49 barnburner in Morgantown, the rematch featured far more turnovers (eight) than touchdowns (two). Oklahoma starter Trevor Knight was replaced by Blake Bell in the fourth quarter, and Paul Millard struggled to get WVU on the board after Dreamius Smith’s 75-yard first-quarter touchdown run.

“I’m not happy with the seven points,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, who stuck with Millard throughout the night despite frequently mulling a change to Clint Trickett. “I thought about it a bunch.”

Millard finished 21-of-41 passing for 218 yards with an interception and one of WVU’s three lost fumbles. He underthrew several open receivers on deep routes but also was victimized by drops. One of those was a third-quarter bomb that Ivan McCartney dropped at the goal line before colliding with an Oklahoma defender.

“(Millard) put the ball there for some guys to make some plays and we didn’t,” Holgorsen said.

Watch the highlights from West Virginia’s trip to Norman.

Unlike Millard, Oklahoma’s Knight didn’t survive the night. The redshirt freshman was 10-of-20 with two poorly thrown interceptions when he was replaced by Bell, who played the final three series but threw only one pass, an incompletion.

Oklahoma’s best offense was its running game, which produced 316 yards on 57 carries.

“You rush the ball for 316 yards, it’s pretty special,” said Sooners coach Bob Stoops, whose offense seems to have shifted away from the pass-first attack deployed in recent seasons under Sam Bradford and Landry Jones.

That clearly entrusted the game to Clay, who had 22 carries, and Williams, who ran it 21 times.

“I think the offensive line just did a great job,” Clay said. “I think it was just overall a good effort. I just happened to be the one with the ball.”

The game turned ugly during a third quarter that featured five punts, four turnovers and zero points.

Knight threw one interception that Darwin Cook grabbed in the end zone and another that Karl Joseph hauled in at the West Virginia 15.

Not to be outdone, WVU’s Millard floated a poor pass that Gabe Lynn intercepted in Sooners territory, and Mountaineers receiver Kevin White coughed up a fumble at the OU 16 after converting a third-and-long.

Said Stoops: “It’s kind of unusual from a year ago where everything was offense winning the game and lighting it up.”

Smith’s tackle-busting touchdown run on WVU’s second series made it 7-0—the first points allowed by Oklahoma this season after last week’s 34-0 shutout of Louisiana-Monroe.

Oklahoma closed to within 7-3 on its ensuing series, a drive extended by a roughing-the-punter flag against WVU freshman Daryl Worley.

View the complete video series of postgame interviews.

Another special teams blunder damaged the Mountaineers when Mario Alford’s fumbled fair catch at the WVU 32 set up Oklahoma’s first touchdown, a 1-yard pass from Trevor Knight to fullback Trey Millard.

That 10-3 lead stood until the final seconds of the half when Knight misfired on third-and-1 at the 4 and the Sooners settled for Mike Hunnicutt’s 21-yard kick.

Twice in the second quarter the West Virginia defense thwarted Oklahoma threats with turnovers. Isaiah Bruce stripped Lacolton Bester after a 32-yard catch leading to Cook’s recovery at the WVU 18. On Oklahoma’s next series, Brandon Golson’s blindside sack of Knight jarred the ball loose and Will Clarke recovered at the WVU 38.

West Virginia averaged 7 yards per carry thanks in large part to the first-quarter breakaway run by Smith, who finished with 77 yards on three carries. Curiously, he had only one rushing attempt after the touchdown.

“I really don’t know what was the cause behind that,” Smith said. “We just had to go along with the game plan, I guess. I don’t know. I was perfectly (healthy). I don’t what he story behind that one.”

Holgorsen’s explanation?

“We just kept rotating guys, he said. “We feel like we’ve got four backs who can run the ball. We didn’t just specifically say we want to get the ball to (Smith).”

Charles Sims netted 57 on 11 carries, while Wendell Smallwood (five carries for 25 yards) and Dustin Garrison (three for 16 yards) also contributed.

Kevin White, after sitting out the opener with a foot injury, made seven catches for 80 yards in his WVU debut, but he lost a crucial fumble at the Oklahoma 16 in the third quarter.

“Kevin White finally started doing some things,” Holgorsen said. “He had the fumble, which was devastating, but he did catch the ball and slipped a tackle or two every now and then—and we need that to happen more.

Ronald Carswell finished with three catches for 44 yards and McCartney made three for 26.

There also was a frightening moment with 5:42 left in the game when WVU senior linebacker Doug Rigg was carted off the field with medical personnel paying close attention to his head and neck area.

“He was out cold,” Holgorsen said, “but he was moving his hands and his feet some. It was scary. He collided with one of our guys.”

Added Cook, a fellow senior: “He started moving (his arms) at the end and that made me feel better. He’s my dear friend, and I was really hurting over that.”


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  • Big Larry

    Millard was not getting it done plain and simple. Tricket could have not done any worse. It looks like Millard from here on out.

    The defense could not stop the run last year, they cannot stop the run this year. Pitiful!

    The best runner on the field (Smith) was not permitted to run the ball in the second half. Great call Holgorsen!

    I am just so glad to know that WVU is the only Big 12 team that will continue to improve as the season progresses. Yes...and for that reason we will get better each week and win the rest of our games from here on out.

    I am not sure which is worse...

    The sideline antics of Bob "Sweatsuit" Huggins or that of Dana "The Man in Black" Holgorsen.

    Any WVU offensive player who makes a miscue is sure to draw the ire and rage of Holgorsen. I believe that Millard was afraid of making a mistake which effected his play.

    Anyway, that is just my opinion and I think that everyone is entitled to hear it...

    • biance

      Good point...
      Huggins needs to shuck the sweatsuits and start dressing professionally, gosh at least make us look presentable.

      Holgorsen needs to wear our school colors, why does Luck want us to strip the stadium with wvu colors and dana doesn't even wear our colors.

    • j

      Your such a freaking loser. get a life and stop trying to irritate actual fans. We just laugh at your apparent lacking of quality of life. so go rent Forest Hump, grab some lotion for your girlfriend (right or left hand?) and try to stop eating doughnuts long enough to realize that your skin wouldn't be so pail if you went out in the sun, your acne would go away with less sugar, your weight isnt because your big boned and momma really is the only one that loves you. Then go do something productive like breaking your leg

      • EPR


    • EPR

      Cool story bro.

  • CaptainQ

    It was sad watching this game last night.

    Oklahoma TRIED to give this game away, but everytime the Sooners made a mistake, the Mountaineers returned the favor. WVU even had a chance to win late in the game had they not blown all three of their timeouts beforehand.

    No one thought Oklahoma would stumble this badly, too bad the Mountaineers stumbled WORSE. Opportunities like THIS rarely come again. Oh well, at least WVU can take out their frustrations on Georgia State and Maryland for the next two weeks.

  • Jim

    The roughing the kicker penalty really hurt and the muffed fair catch. I feel like WVU needs a more disiplined team. D looked pretty good they just got worn down by OK's running game in the heat.

  • wvajoker

    Yes, the drama never ends. You keep posting your garbage on here. We need to RUN YOU OUT OF WEST VIRGINIA.

  • Matt

    Hey William welcome to modern day football. Drama is part if it. There will NEVER be a squeaky clean program anymore, not a huge deal. With that said special teams really hurt us but didn't lose it, mistakes all around, gonna be a nice season though, sorry Larry, William and the rest of the "hoard."

  • GridironGladiatorI'mNot

    WVU had this game in the bag. They beat themselves. Special teams and turnovers sealed the loss. I never thought I would be saying great things about the defense as the offense sputters. What happened to the offense?

  • William

    Slick Joe DeForest paid players in 2011 at Oklahoma State. A failed defensive coordinator and a bad special teams coach.

    • wvrefugee

      NCAA investigation to boot! 500k don't buy ya much anymore!!!

  • Shane

    How do you "forget" the guy who made your only offensive big play of the night? Tricket must REALLY suck!!!

  • tw eagle

    well , when the butter was churned , the cream rose to the top . those guys playing the D line are the heart and soul of this WVU
    team . . .the rest of the D was very good but the D line was great . . .i'm a little amazed that the coaches didn't adjust when the oakies started running what an oldtimer like me calls a 'crossbuck' . . .lining a back in the wing spot, they flowed to that side but ran the other way . . .especially effective going into the boundary side . . .it seemed the WVU defense had a backer and a safety "locked in'
    to the H back side . . .
    I give coach Holgerson a failing grade for the game just for the fact he went for it on 4th down with 7+ minutes left . . .gave up too much field position. . .should have pinned the oakies inside the 10 with a punt , make them work the ball upfield . . .
    there'll be a lot of bruises , and it will take some time to recover emotionally from this
    GREAT effort . . .special kudos to Cook for
    playing the game of his life . . .WVU should consider making sure Cook's mother has a ticket and transportation to all his games . . .

  • lifetimehunter

    It seemed to me we have no ability to have a deep threat. The coaching was unprepared no excuse for the early timeouts and defense not getting lined up before the snap. Love the mountaineers but not impressed with our offense at all.

    • RJ

      Agree 100%!!

  • justbeingmecb1

    I don't think tricket would have done any worse than Millard the boy needs to start running for yards and not be scared to get hit, plus he under threw a lot of people though the WRs dropped the passes right to them

  • Luke

    Half of the Big XII has one loss two weeks into the season. Texas, a pre season favorite, lost to BYU a team that lost to UVA last week. It doesn't look like a banner year for the Bid Xii.

    • Larry

      You're right, the Big 12 is definitely not what it was a few years back, there is no team in this conference that is a threat to contend for a national championship.

    • DonaldH

      As last night showed, a down year for the BigXII-- If you can't hang 25 points on a BigXII Defense, then your offense has problems.

  • bva24

    Holgorsen is the worst.

    • Art in Ohio

      I have read several remarks about this football team and Holgorsen. This remark about Holgorsen being worst is just plain wrong. He is building a program and in the near future will show great results. This is a young football team that will get better. Remember 8 starter on offense never played for us before this season started.

      • Gary

        Vince Lombardi could not get any from our negative,whiny fans.

  • WV07

    McCartney needs to take a seat and remember how to catch the ball....Millard made a few great plays but proved he can NOT hit a receiver who has beat his cover man....Thank you Defense for keeping this one close and respectable. Get well and heal quickly Doug Rigg. And for god's sakes why do we consistently botch special team basic fundamentals?.....that's a half million dollar a year question we need an answer for.

    • WV07

      I'm not bitter.....just frustrated and still proud to be a Mountaineer! Now lets go roll off a few W's in a row!!!

      • RJ

        Yes! If we play the Georgia States we may get a string of wins. WVU has NO "Trigger" that is one of the sorriest QBs I've seen up there in years. It probably will be a long year, if the D plays like it did last night, we may win 6 games.

  • jc

    I was really impressed with the way the defense played tonight. Our offense is anemic right now. I would have like to have seen Trickett get in for a couple of series. He might have provided a spark. I am going to go out on a limb and say we will either be 8-4 or 9-3. Once our offense gets some game experience to where they start to click, I think we'll be fine. I don't see us beating ok state or Baylor, but the other games are winnable if our offense comes together. We just need a qb to step up and be the guy. So far that hasn't happened stating the obvious.

    • MountainMover

      Agree with a lot of what you say. The team will get better and take a lot from this but that said, this game was there to be won. If McCartney and White hold on to the ball, we win. If Millard puts a little more mustard on a couple of throws, we win. That's how they have to look at this IMO, not that it was a good learning experience but that they had this game and let it slip away. I'd like to see Trickett get more reps against Georgia State. Maryland will be a tough game, but likely winnable as well. And if Millard cannot make throws against a Division 1-A defense then let's get someone in there who can. Millard looked scared to death in the second half. Very disappointed in him after a good opening game on top of two years preparing for this moment. He needs to find another gear.

      • Protechcpa

        Millard needs to find another team. FCS. Maybe. More likely AB. Good fit for him.

    • Allen

      I disagree. There were at least half a dozen times last night that Millard hit receivers right in the hands and the ball just went through.

      We've got a bigger wide receiver problem than a quarterback problem.

      • Bobby M

        I think Millard should be CALLED the Maverick! Because last night he tried to do TO much at times and I think he got HOLGS angry a bit!

        Rock N ROLL rumble almost happened! Our backs were to a wall BUT we kept it going and ALMOST did the unthinkable! GOOD JOB TEAM! BUt I think we're NOT there yet! It might take another TWO years!

      • Oh Did Ya?

        WR's didn't help him but Millard wasn't good. He produced zero points, didn't check WVU into any good plays, let the play clock run out at least twice, looked tentative and scared at times, threw a horrible INT (if the guy who caught it wasn't there 2 other okl guys were), held the ball too long on several occasions. Trickett needs to start and play 100% of the Ga State game to get him experience in the system. He is the better QB - he just needs time to learn the entire system.

    • William

      It's going to be a sad year to be a mountaineer fan, no matter where you may be! There is going to be a big quarterback MESS in Mo-town soon!

      • graywv

        Its a "GREAT DAY TO BE A MOUNTAINEER" every day unlike you Miserable Herd fan, you must get up in the morning and hate what you see in the mirror, your just plain NEGATIVE about life!

        • William

          NCAA -- I N V E S T I G A T I O N
          Slick Joe DeForest paid players at Oklahoma State. A failed defensive coordinator and a bad special teams coach.
          RUN HIM OUT OF MORGANTOWN and HIRE A TRUE MOUNTAINEER. Drama at WVU never ends! Why did WVU hire so many coaches that had a lot of BAGGAGE?

          • al

            You bring in Holgerson types, and that is exactly the kind of coaching staff you get.