MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When West Virginia cornerback Icky Banks’ squeezed his first college interception, safety Darwin Cook did a split-second, double-take.
“Icky ain’t got no hands,” Cook said, “but he caught that one.”
When Banks subsequently turned that interception into a 58-yard pick-six by weaving through the Oklahoma State offense, Cook was part of the return caravan, half-stupefied at his teammate finding a lane down the OSU sideline.
“Icky didn’t make no moves—he ain’t got no bake,” joked Cook. “But he ran fast though, and I saw him break some tackles.”
No moment was more transformative during WVU’s 30-21 upset win over No. 11 Oklahoma State. The Cowboys, who entered as 19-point favorites, led 7-0 on Josh Stewart’s 73-yard catch-and-run and were aiming for more after intercepting Clint Trickett at midfield.
But when J.W. Walsh underthrew a sideline pass intended for Blake Jackson, Banks—who was tracking Brandon Shepherd on an underneath route—sagged off and plucked the turnover. Knowing WVU’s offense could use an assist, Banks figured he’d better make the most out of his return.
“Coach (Keith Patterson) always tells us get to the sideline,” said Banks. “I was like, ‘If I don’t score I’m going to get cussed out.’”
Banks’ runback benefited from several blocks, with defensive linemen Will Clarke and Noble Nowachukwu and linebacker Jared Barber chipping and screening would-be tacklers.
“A dream come true,” said Banks. “I had one (interception) in high school, just one—that’s it. So doing it on this stage meant a lot to me. I need some more of those.”
Coincidentally, Banks was the cornerback tailing Stewart on Oklahoma State’s first touchdown—a second-and-12 play for which Patterson blamed himself for getting greedy with a zero blitz.
“When (OSU) scored that first one, we knew it was a cheap one, so Coach Patterson told us ‘Just keep playing,’” said Banks. One series later, the sophomore saw his chance to make amends.
“I feel like (Walsh) threw it right to me, like he gave me a present,” he said. “I just took it in and I think that gave our offense a little pep in their stop, a little swagger.”