NORMAN, Okla. — Sunday’s film review by the WVU coaching staff will reveal perhaps the best overall defensive performance in the Neal Brown era. But missed opportunities on offense and defense kept the Mountaineers from securing a signature upset in a building where Oklahoma loses on average, once every two years.
“That’s hard when you invest like we have,” said WVU head coach Neal Brown. “We had a great week and great prep. Guys were ready to go and I thought we handled everything that has to do with it. We just didn’t get it done. The hope is that you learn from this.”
Lincoln Riley and the Sooners had cleared the 50-point mark in their last three games against the Mountaineers. They mustered just one touchdown and 313 total yards on Saturday.
“We held the No. 3 or 4 team to sixteen points but that is not good enough,” said WVU linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo. “We view ourselves as one of the best defenses in the country and definitely the best defense in the Big 12. Sixteen points are too much. Our offense scored. That is enough to win the game.”
West Virginia’s offense opened the game with a clinical 17-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took over nine minutes.
“I believed we could do that on the first drive,” said WVU wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton. “We had a good game plan going into the game. We went toe-to-toe with them. We just came up short but I think for the most part we had a good game plan going on.”
After that opening drive however, WVU could only muster a pair of field goals. Crucial penalties, an interception and miscommunication on a snap during their final drive left the Mountaineers out of the end zone in the final three quarters.
“When we go back and look at it, there’s going to be three or four opportunities where we had to go win the game. You never know when those plays are going to be. And we didn’t get it done,” Brown said.
Once again, Brown shuffled Garrett Greene in at the quarterback spot, and to good effect. He completed 3-of-4 passes and scored WVU’s lone touchdown.
“He’s a talented quarterback,” Ford-Wheaton said. “He is a quarterback for a reason. He is not just a running quarterback. He can throw the ball too. We trust him just as much as we trust [Jarret] Doege. When he comes in, we can pass the ball.”
Just one round into the Big 12’s round robin regular season, league favorites Oklahoma and Iowa State seem vulnerable and teams like West Virginia have an opportunity to shift the balance of power in the conference.
“We can compete with anybody, honestly,” Chandler-Semedo said. “That’s a team that was No. 2 in the country in the preseason, Heisman favorite and a No. 1 pick. We have seen what we did. With that type of confidence, we feel like we can play with anybody. The Big 12 is up for grabs.”