The Times West Virginian

Sports

September 8, 2013

Oklahoma pulls out mistake-filled 16-7 win over WVU

MORGANTOWN — What difference a year makes.

Just 10 months back, West Virginia University and Oklahoma played a football game in which 99 points were scored, 50 of them by the Sooners, and more than 1,500 yards were gained.

That was when Geno Smith was throwing for West Virgina, Landry Jones for Oklahoma. It was when Tavon Austin was rushing for 344 yards and 572 all-purpose yards.

Those days are gone, as gone as are Smith, Jones and Austin.

In this year’s renewal in Norman, Okla., the Sooners edged the fumbling, bumbling West Virginia offense, 16-7, erasing a proud effort by the defense because the offense behind Paul Millard and the special teams were anything but special.

“Seven points on the board are pitiful,” said Coach Dana Holgorsen, who in two years plus had never scored so few points as WVU coach. “We are real young and had inexperienced guys in key positions that made mistakes.”

It was billed as a battle between two inexperienced quarterbacks, and neither produced.

Paul Millard completed 21 of 41 for 218 yards without a touchdown and one interception for WVU, while OU’s Trevor Knight completed 10 of 20 for 119 yards and a touchdown to go with two interceptions. He also rushed for 49 yards.

To sum up the game, it is best to put it this way.

Each team had one touchdown and four turnovers.

The field was baking in 96-degree heat at kickoff, and you had an idea early that big things were to come.

On the game’s second play, Millard scrambled until he could find Charles Sims and hit him with a 24-yard pass, but a big mistake by Dreamius Smith, a chop block, put an end to any dreams of a quick score. WVU wound up punting, Nick O’Toole continuing his powerful punting with a 50-yard boot that rolled dead at the 10.

The Sooners made a mistake of their own, snapping the ball past quarterback Trevor Knight and rolling back toward the end zone. Knight got it but just before he went into the end zone for a safety he tried to throw it and was penalized for intentional grounding, putting the ball at the 1.

The Sooners got out of trouble when Brandon Clay broke a run for 33 yards but wound up punting, WVU taking over and about to spring a big surprise on the Sooners.

Millard handed the ball to Smith, who made a thousand amends for the earlier chop block as he battered his way through a pair of tackles, cut outside and streaked down the left sideline, outrunning his reputation of not being a burner, to say nothing of the Oklahoma defense, crossing the goal line 75 yards downfield for a touchdown and a 7-0 WVU lead.

Oklahoma answered with a 44-yard field goal from Michael Hunnicutt to cut it to 7-3 but that was a victory for the Mountaineers as on the third down play the inexperienced Knight threw incomplete to the wrong receiver when Jalen Saunders was wide open running down the middle toward the end zone.

It hadn’t been a very good day for WVU special teams coordinator Joe DeForest from the beginning, learning he was being accused of paying players for performance when coaching at Oklahoma State in an upcoming Sports Illustrated investigative article.

It got worse just before the end of the first quarter when punt returner Mario Alford muffed a punt and turned it over to Oklahoma, leading to a short touchdown drive that ended with Oklahoma’s Millard, Trey, catching a short pass from Knight to make give the Sooners a 10-7 lead.

Moments later WVU played some more giveaway, Millard being hit just as he was releasing it, the play being called a fumble and Oklahoma recovery, Holgorsen challenging the call and losing the challenge.

Interestingly, the game’s offensive hero, Dreamius Smith, wound up getting a lecture from Holgorsen for failing to protect Millard’s blind side, making it more of an up-and-down night for Smith.

The Sooners looked like they might make something out of that fumble as Knight hit one of his rare completions on third down only to have WVU linebacker Isaiah Bruce run receiver Lacoltan Bester down from behind and knock the ball free, Darwin Cook falling on it for the recovery.

After being forced to punt, the WVU defense rose up again and bit the Sooners where it hurts the most, linebacker Brandon Golson creeping up on Knight’s blind side and blasting the ball loose from him with Will Clarke recovering.

WVU could do nothing offensively, however, which allowed Oklahoma to stretch its halftime lead to 13-7 on a Hunnicutt field goal just before the half.

The third quarter was a festival of mistakes, a quarter in which WVU used all three of its second-half timeouts.

During the quarter Darwin Cook made a simply spectacular interception in the end zone. Karl Joseph, the other safety, added another one, but Millard threw an interception to the Sooners’ Gabe Lynn, and Kevin White, with WVU driving for a what could have been a tying touchdown, fumbled the ball away, the ever present Lynn recovering and returning it.

But that wasn’t the half of it. The special teams continued their disastrous evening, Alford fair catching a punt on his own 5, setting up a punt from the end zone that O’Toole shanked just 33 yards, his first bad punt of the year.

Through it all, though, the defense continued to hold, forcing yet another Oklahoma punt … this one with Jordan Thompson back in place of Alford. It wasn’t much of an improvement, fair catching at the 9.

The Sooners were the first team to make a change at quarterback, bringing in Blake Bell and the Belldozer offense which went down the field for a fourth-quarter, 32-yard field goal from Hunnicutt. It was an important field goal as it gave the Sooners a 16-7 lead.

NOTES: WVU showed up with “CJ” decals on the helmets in memory of Associate AD Curtis Jones, who died suddenly this week. … In a warm gesture, Oklahoma paid tribute to the WVU baseball team for its humanitarian efforts when Moore, Okla., was savaged by tornadoes during the Big 12 baseball tournament. … WR Kevin White played for the first time and caught his first pass of his career, a screen for a first down. … The Pride of West Virginia band made the trip to Norman by bus and had the crowd cheering with a halftime performance, ... NG Shaq Rowell suffered a fourth-quarter leg injury and limped off the field. ... Oklahoma had its 87th consecutive sellout.

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Wheeling holds off Post 17 rally in state tourney opener

    Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Mo Felt nearly went the distance in a 7-6 victory over Fairmont Post 17 on Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Hawley Field.

    July 30, 2014

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.
    The Pete Dye course, ranked No. 45 on Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses and No. 9 on Golfweek’s ranking of Best Modern Courses, will host 160 of the best junior golfers from 40 states during the 72-hole stroke play event.

    July 30, 2014

  • Scott sees swift title contention for Lakers

    Byron Scott was a key component of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime teams, a smooth shooting guard with sizzling competitive fire. He believes his purple-and-gold championship pedigree makes him the ideal coach to return the struggling 16-time champions to NBA contention.
    “This organization is all about championships, period,” Scott said Tuesday at his introductory news conference. “We don’t look at Western Conference finals, Western Conference championships. We look at (NBA) championships. And we know we have some work ahead of us, but I’m excited. ... I love challenges anyway, so this is going to be fun.”

    July 30, 2014

  • Opinion: People running NCAA may not be bumbling idiots

    Two down, one big one to go.
    And with it a growing realization that maybe the people running the NCAA aren’t the bumbling idiots everyone has been making them out to be.
    The NCAA’s agreement Tuesday to create a $70 million fund to diagnose concussions and brain injuries does more than just give some former and current athletes a bit of peace of mind — if no real money. It also extricates the organization from another serious threat to its existence, one that could have potentially bankrupted it if everyone who ever suffered a concussion playing college sports were somehow able to cash in.

    July 30, 2014

  • Steelers Camp Footbal_time2.jpg Bell looking for more decisive, productive season

    Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.
    There were times during his rookie season when the Pittsburgh Steelers running back would place his hand on an offensive lineman’s back and wait patiently for the hole to open.
    Sometimes, one would appear. Sometimes it wouldn’t, mainly because whatever sliver of daylight existed had already been swallowed by darkness while Bell was still trying to read the blocks in front of him.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • smallwood-wendell(1)-2.jpg Charges against Smallwood dropped

     West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.
    It took him only three words to say what was on his mind: “God is Good.” Smallwood is now free to return to West Virginia and rejoin his Mountaineer teammates when they open camp for the 2014 season Thursday.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • dungy0725 (1).jpg Rice, Dungy sideshows stain NFL

    The National Football League guards its reputation as aggressively as lineman are paid to protect a quarterback.
    So, as training camp opens around the country, how odd is it to see Commissioner Roger Goodell’s 32-team NFL empire battling bad headlines and stinging criticism from all quarters?
    Anyone want to talk to the new quarterback for his early assessment of playing with the best and biggest players in the land? That would be business as usual. Nothing has been routine about the early days of camp this season.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Post 17 #7 Post 2 #12 mw.JPG DeVaul wraps up final season as Post 17’s leader

    If you were to ask players on Fairmont American Legion Post 17’s roster who they looked up to, you’d find a familiar pattern.
    Sure, you may get some Andrew McCutchens or some Derek Jeters as replies. But if you want to find out the real answer, just look into the dugout.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big ‘I’ golf coming to Pete Dye

    The Trusted Choice Big “I” National Championship will make its first trip to West Virginia when Pete Dye Golf Club hosts the 46th annual installment of the event Aug. 5-8.

    July 29, 2014

  • Charges against Smallwood dropped

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood took to Twitter mid-afternoon Tuesday to express his feelings after charges of witness intimidation against him were dropped by the state of Delaware.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
Auto Racing Photos
Auto Racing Breaking News
Auto Racing Standings