Oklahoma State’s victory Saturday could be a product of many things. It could be that West Virginia’s short stint as the favorite to win the conference was a little undeserved. It could be the newfound swagger that comes with playing your first home game after being retroactively awarded a championship from 71 years ago. Or it could just be that Mike Gundy knows how to strategize against his former assistant Dana Holgorsen.
Either way, the Cowboy’s 37-20 win over the Mountaineers was easily their most impressive performance of the season.
Though West Virginia established their strong running game, a main objective for them going into the game, they were outgunned in the passing comparison and it showed. Mason Rudolph outplayed opposing quarterback Skyler Howard in every way. He had more yards, more touchdowns, and a better completion percentage. But it was Howard’s ball security, or lack thereof, that separated the two. He threw a couple of interceptions, to Ramon Richards and Kevin Henry, which doomed a West Virginia team that had only played one road game prior to Saturday.
The Washington-McCleskey receiving tandem continued to dominate. They combined for 17 catches, 183 yards, and a touchdown. Chris Lacy also got in on the pass-catching fun. Two of his three receptions were for touchdowns. The other was on a third and long conversion, which quelled the Mountaineers comeback attempt.
The win not only marked Mike Gundy’s 100th career victory, it also likely landed his team a spot in the top 25 rankings. The 6-2 Cowboys have cemented themselves in the race for the Big 12 title. Next week they’ll be in Manhattan, playing Kansas State.