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September 28, 2013
Keys to the game: OSU edition
Responding to adversity. With around 8 minutes left in the second quarter Oklahoma State makes an adjustment and marches down the field 76 yards to get OSU within 3 points 17-14. WVU in turn marches down the field but a poor throw by Trickett is picked off by OSU safety Tyler Patmon. Momentum had swung completely in the favor of the Cowboys but after a gutsy defensive stand and a 13 yard punt, the Mountaineers went five plays for 43 yards to extend the lead back to 10 points before the half.
Later with the game on the line and Trickett obviously hurting, the FSU transfer hit wide receiver Jordan Thompson on 3rd and 7 for 17 yards to put WVU just inside the Oklahoma State 15. Three plays later red shirt freshman Josh Lambert hits a 27 yard field game to put WVU up six with around four minutes to play. These points forced OSU to have to march down the length of the field for the win and eventually the Mountaineer defense was able to force a turnover, ceiling the win.
Lack of a running game not an issue early on. 16 carries for 9 yards is all the Mountaineers could manage to get in the first half against the Oklahoma State defense. Even with the obvious issues with running the ball the Mountaineer offense was still able to put 17 points on the scoreboard.
As the second half began you could tell there was some improvement with the running game but it still wasn't effective enough to help West Virginia move the chains.
Starting field position on change of possession for Oklahoma State. Mountaineer punter Nick O'Toole had punted three times in the first half with two coming inside OSU's own 20 (14 and 9) and the other at their own 30. Also one of the interceptions by OSU on West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett was caught at the 9 yard line. So of the five changes of possessions outside of kick returns Oklahoma State started three times inside their own 14 yard line.
Special Teams mishaps. A missed 34 yard field goal, twice in the quarter the Mountaineers started at their own 3 yard line on a fair catch on a punt return and a mistake on a kick-off return. Any chance of having a shorter field for the offense was continuously destroyed with mental errors by special teams players, an issue that has plagued West Virginia all season.
Redemption. With a little under 4 minutes left in the game and West Virginia with only a 6 point lead, Darwin Cook picked off a pass from JW Walsh and returned it to the WVU 36 yard line. Cook has made big plays all season but the senior from Cleveland was having his worst game of the season to point. Oklahoma State had started to attack him with Tracy Moore in the slot but even before then Cook was having issues with his tackling and angles of pursuit. Of course one play changed everything and Cook walked away with more late game heroics that helped the Mountaineer's gain a much needed victory.
The stand. With roughly 11 minutes left in the game, Oklahoma State had worked their way down to the West Virginia 7 yard line. On a third third down stop, West Virginia cornerback Ishmael Banks was called for a questionable facemask personal foul giving OSU the first down and the ball at the 3 yards line. With West Virginia hanging on to a 3 point lead it felt like it was only a matter of time before the #11 team in the nation was going to punch the ball in. On first down Jeremy Smith was stuffed for only a 2 yard gain to the WVU 1 yard line. The Cowboys had had their own issues running the ball so Mike Gundy went for a fad route to catch WVU off guard. Once again the Mountaineer defense was able to bat the ball away and force a third down. OSU tried once again to run it but it was blown up by JUCO transfer Dontril Hyman and knocked OSU back five yards. All was not lost for Oklahoma State as they only needed a 23 yard field goal to tie the game. In a day that saw perhaps the most special teams errors by combined teams, OSU kicker Ben Grogan kick sailed right and OSU never again threatened to score.
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