Oklahoma State Stuns Will Grier, No. 9 West Virginia in 45-41 Upset

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 18, 2018

STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 17:  Quarterback Taylor Cornelius #14 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys throws against the the West Virginia Mountaineers in the first quarter on November 17, 2018 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

West Virginia's hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff were likely dashed Saturday when the ninth-ranked Mountaineers lost to Oklahoma State, 45-41, at Boone Pickens Stadium.

With his team trailing 41-38, Cowboys quarterback Taylor Cornelius found Tylan Wallace on a slant route for the go-ahead score with 42 seconds remaining. 

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Oklahoma State took their first lead of the game over No. 9 West Virginia with 42 seconds left to seal the win! 😮 https://t.co/VDqxNWstNa

Will Grier nearly led West Virginia back on the ensuing drive, getting the ball to the Oklahoma State 14-yard line, but his pass to the end zone on the game's final play was batted down. 

CBS Sports HQ @CBSSportsHQ

Upset. Oklahoma State stuns West Virginia. https://t.co/5TfktnqxL5

West Virginia appeared in control through two quarters, carrying a 31-14 lead into halftime. 

Whatever head coach Mike Gundy told his team during the intermission struck a nerve. Oklahoma State closed the game on a 31-10 run that included 21 fourth-quarter points. 

There was already no margin for error as West Virginia chased one of the four playoff spots. No. 7 LSU was the only team with two losses in the Top 10 when play started Saturday. 

The Mountaineers' first loss came against an Iowa State team that's ranked 16th in the playoff standings. A second defeat—this one to an unranked opponent—is devastating because it could prevent them from playing for a Big 12 title. 

Chris Hummer @chris_hummer

Straight forward Big 12 title game scenarios: Oklahoma - Win out and in Texas - Win out and in Iowa State - Win out and in West Virginia - Win out and in

The win made Oklahoma State bowl-eligible at 6-5 and helped Gundy add money to his bank account:

Steve Berkowitz @ByBerkowitz

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy set for $62,500 bonus as Cowboys upset WVU for 6th win of season, making them eligible for a bowl game

This hasn't been the season Gundy was hoping for after coming off three straight 10-win campaigns, but there were indications the Cowboys were getting better down the stretch.

Oklahoma State knocked off Texas on Oct. 27—when the Longhorns climbed to No. 6 in the rankings—and lost by one point to Oklahoma last week. The only outlier during this stretch was a last-second 35-31 loss at Baylor on Nov. 3. 

Offense wasn't hard to come by for either team. Grier threw for 364 yards and two touchdowns. Mountaineers running back Kennedy McKoy had a season-high 148 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. 

Cornelius picked apart West Virginia's defense with five touchdowns in his final home game at Oklahoma State. Freshman running back Chuba Hubbard had a career-high 26 carries and 134 yards. 

West Virginia can get the bad taste out of its mouth Friday when it hosts Oklahoma—and the winner will advance to the Big 12 Championship Game. Oklahoma State will finish the regular season Saturday at TCU.