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WHITE OUT: Sooners beat West Virginia despite Weather

Photo Credit: Ty Russell
WHITE OUT: Sooners beat West Virginia despite Weather

As the forecast called for snow to fall upon the field in Morgantown yesterday, the Oklahoma Sooners looked to propel themselves closer to another Big 12 title. The Mountaineers of West Virginia have been a very good team all season long, so Bob Stoops and company knew that it would be no simple task to win on Saturday. What the OU team and staff didn’t prepare for, was the total mental lapse that the Mountaineers would endure throughout the snowy night.
On their opening possession of the game OU was forced to punt, but the West Virginia return man, Greg Jennings, would muff it and the Sooners would recover deep inside Mountaineer territory to set up a Samaje Perine touchdown. When WVU got the ball back, the were unable to convert on third and long, and punted it away to the Oklahoma. Unlike their counterparts, the Sooners would not muff the punt, and the result of the ensuing drive was a 75-yard touchdown from Baker Mayfield to Dede Westbrook. Within the first 6 minutes of game time OU had taken a 14-0 lead on West Virginia, and after another failed drive for the Mountaineers, the Sooners were looking to add to their lead before the start of the second quarter. A heavy dose of Joe Mixon and a 25-yard connection from Baker to Dede would end with a touchdown reception for Jeffery Mead to extend the OU lead to 21-0 with just under 4 minutes to go in the first quarter!
To start the second quarter, the teams would exchange punts before the Mountaineers would commit another turnover deep on Oklahoma’s side of the field! Mountaineer running back, Justin Crawford, couldn’t hang on to the ball at the Sooners’ 4-yard line, and that turnover would lead to another OU scoring drive. With the Sooners up 28-0 early in the second quarter, Dana Holgerson and the West Virginia Mountaineers looked demoralized. Following the OU score, WVU would march all the way down to Oklahoma’s 3-yard line to try and stop the bleeding, but Skyler Howard couldn’t get control of the snap on third and goal, and would fumble away any chance West Virginia had at getting points. The home team had turned the ball over 3 times already, and all turnovers resulted in an OU touchdown. This fourth turnover by the Mountaineers would end the same way, and the Sooners would drive all 97 yards of the field before Perine would record his second rushing touchdown of the half, but Austin Seibert, the OU kicker, would miss the point after due to slipping on his kick.
The Mountaineers would show some fight before halftime, and Skyler Howard would connect with Javon Durante for a 20-yard score to put West Virginia on the board, 34-7. Knowing that WVU would get the ball to start the final half of play, everyone on the OU sideline knew the game was far from over. Skyler Howard would take the Mountaineer offense all the way to the OU 27-yard line, but on fourth down and 3 yards to go, OU’s Jordan Evans would snatch his pass right out of the air and return it 80 yards for a Sooner touchdown. Extending their lead to 41-7, the Sooners looked to be in good shape, but after the teams traded punts back a fourth, Oklahoma would commit its first turnover of the game. Baker Mayfield threw the ball right into the hands of a West Virginia defender, and would lead to a WVU touchdown with just under 3 minutes left in the third quarter.
The Sooners would then get the ball back and be forced to punt before the quarter ended, and West Virginia would find themselves in scoring position as the fourth quarter began. Starting the final quarter at Oklahoma’s 12-yard line, it only took the Mountaineers 28 seconds to get into the end zone, and the Sooner lead was cut to 20, 41-21. Mayfield and the offense took the field after the score but were unable to get a first down, and had to punt the ball back to West Virginia with just over 12 minutes left in the game. Plenty of time for the WVU offense to score 3 touchdowns if the defense of Oklahoma played too conservative, but due to the way the offense had played the first 3 quarters, no one was expecting a comeback except for the players on the WVU sideline. Mike Stoops and the defense knew it wasn’t over either, but regardless, Howard would connect with Ka’Raun White for a 37-yard TD bomb to slash the Sooner lead to 15, 41-28, with 10 minutes to go in regulation. At this point, Oklahoma needed any type of score to prevent their lead from getting cut down to a 1-possession.
The Sooners needed a long drive that would result in points to give the Mountaineers almost no time to score. OU offensive mind, Lincoln Riley, knew that was well, and Joe Mixon would carry the ball agains and again as the clock ran. Oklahoma was picking up first downs on the ground and a few threw the air, but ultimately, it would be Baker Mayfield skirting in from the 1-yard line to lengthen the Sooner lead t 47-28 with just under 6 minutes left in the game. Since Seibert missed an extra point in the second quarter, Lincoln Riley had the OU offense on the field for a 2-point conversion attempt to try and extend the lead to 21 points. Mayfield executed the play brilliantly, and found Mark Andrews for the conversion, and a 49-28 advantage.
The Mountaineers didn’t have a great chance of pulling off the comeback at that point, and the win for OU was solidified when West Virginia turned the ball over on downs while on their own 28-yard line. As with all the other WVU turnovers, OU would run the ball into the end zone to put the nail in Davy Crockett’s coffin, and the Sooners left Morgantown with a 56-28 victory.
The win will put December 3, 2016 on everyone’s calendar because it means Bedlam will decide the Big 12 title. This is the second time in 6 years that the winner of Oklahoma versus Oklahoma State will be crowned the champion of their conference. Just something to think about as OU head into a bye week before Bedlam.

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