No. 11 Oklahoma State was upset 30-21 by unranked West Virginia in a thrilling contest at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown on Saturday afternoon.
Special teams were instrumental in this game, with each side making a number of momentum-shifting blunders throughout the back-and-forth affair. Missed field goals, muffed punts and poor decisions plagued each team.
Two atrocious punts by the Cowboys were turned into Mountaineers scores early on, and OSU kicker Ben Grogan failed to connect on both of his field-goal tries, including a critical chip shot in the fourth quarter.
The Pokes attempted to atone for these errors by blocking a field goal and pinning WVU deep in its own territory with good special teams play on kickoffs and punts.
Oklahoma State wasn’t fortunate enough to escape with victory after committing a number of critical mistakes, including a pick-six thrown by sophomore quarterback J.W. Walsh and a fumble by senior back Jeremy Smith that led to a WVU field goal.
Mountaineers quarterback Clint Trickett shook off an injury to play the role of hero, leading a late drive down the field and positioning his team for the game-sealing field goal late in the fourth quarter.
Pokes receiver Josh Stewart hauled in a 73-yard touchdown bomb in the first quarter, and Walsh was able to dissect the Mountaineers defense for another two scores through the air, but WVU came up with stops when it counted.
This battle had a bit of intrigue from the coaches on the sideline, with OSU head coach Mike Gundy facing off against his former offensive coordinator and WVU’s current head coach, Dana Holgorsen.
With the loss, the Pokes move to 3-1 (0-1 Big 12) and have their path to a BCS bowl derailed, at least temporarily. They have Kansas State on tap next week and need to turn things around against the lowly Wildcats.
The Mountaineers are now 3-2 (1-1 Big 12) and could parlay the momentum from this win into upcoming battles with Baylor and Texas Tech in the next two weeks.
Clint Trickett, QB, West Virginia: B+
The junior signal-caller shook off a painful shoulder injury suffered late in the third quarter, emerging from the locker room to lead the Mountaineers down the field the final period for a critical field goal.
He finished the day having completed 24 of 50 passes for 309 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. He also ran seven times for five yards.
The 6’2”, 180-pound quarterback will be remembered for his efforts to get his one-dimensional passing offense down the field to seal the victory. He used pinpoint accuracy to generate the much-needed score to put the Pokes away.
J.W. Walsh, QB, Oklahoma State: C+
Walsh was decent for most of the game, completing 20 of 47 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran 16 times for 52 yards.
However, his two interceptions were extremely costly. One was a pick-six that gave WVU some momentum, and the other was a head-scratching throw into coverage that allowed the Mountaineers to finish off the upset late in the fourth quarter.
Had he been more careful with the ball, the outcome of this game would have been much different.
Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State: A
Stewart shredded the Mountaineers defense, including the aforementioned 73-yard strike early on. He would finish with seven receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown.
The junior wideout was also involved in the running game, getting two carries and taking those for 12 additional yards.
Josh Lambert, K, West Virginia: B
Lambert went from goat to hero when he connected on his final two field-goal attempts of the day. He started off by missing his first pair of tries, but he booted back-to-back field goals to give the Mountaineers an insurmountable lead in the fourth quarter.
Had he missed either of those, the Pokes could have easily mounted a late comeback that would have broken the hearts of WVU fans everywhere.