MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In the span it took Oklahoma to score three second-half touchdowns, West Virginia’s offense countered with only three points and committed three turnovers.
That’s where a sellout crowd deflated and the upset ambitions vanished as No. 4 Oklahoma pulled free for a 45-33 win.
West Virginia’s offense once again produced gaudy totals: 513 yards overall, another 376 passing for Clint Trickett and an 81-76 edge in plays. Trickett only referenced the statistical output as something that “looks good on paper,” realizing his two interceptions, lost fumble and a fourth-down pass unloaded into the bench weren’t the way his team needed to finish drives.
Not when Oklahoma’s offense kept pinging the end zone.
“Every drive really does matter,” Trickett said. “You’ve got to try and score as much as you can on teams like that.”
Trickett hit Kevin White for a 68-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and the standout receiver closed the half with four catches for 111. Then Oklahoma began sending safety help to all-league cornerback Zack Sanchez, and White’s six second-half catches amounted to 62 yards.
“That took the deep ball away,” said White, whose only downfield chance after halftime resulted in a near-miss. The ball glanced off White’s hands as he dove between double coverage. “I probably should’ve caught it, but the safety came over just in time.”
Trailing 31-24, West Virginia’s first series of the third quarter reached the Oklahoma 42, where on fourth-and- 4 Dana Holgorsen opted to punt.
The Mountaineers had a chance to tie on their next drive before a red zone holding call against Marquis Lucas forced a field goal.
After a Wes Tonkery interception presented WVU another chance to start at midfield, Trickett’s badly underthrown pass for Jordan Thompson became easy pickings for Sooners safety Quentin Hayes.
Another turnover bit Trickett when linebacker Geneo Grissom hacked the ball loose on a blind-side sack.
Minutes later, the deficit was 38-27 when a 12-play West Virginia drive faced fourth-and-5 at the Sooners 35. Holgorsen felt compelled to go for it this time, but no one came open downfield and Trickett misfired out of bounds moments ahead of a crunching hit from defensive lineman Chuka Ndulue.
“I thought we played decent the first half,” said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, “but we really we didn’t answer in the whole second half.”