The West Virginia Mountaineers could have given up after being embarrassed by Maryland last weekend but after some reflection and some personnel changes West Virginia manned up and defeated #11 Oklahoma State 30-21. In a game most had being another blow-out this young group of Mountaineers rallied around a standout defensive performance and gritty quarterback play to pick up their first conference victory of the season.
The WVU Defense. Yes the unit gave up over 400 yards but you have to look much deeper to see how effective they truly were. OSU was held to 2.8 yards per carry and held Oklahoma State's starting running back Justin Scott to just one yard on 15 carries. The Mountaineer defense also forced three turnovers, two in which may have led to points for the Cowboy's in the first half.
JW Walsh had over three hundred yards passing but WVU held him to just 43% on his completions and picked off two of his passes. Adding insult to injury it seemed like Walsh spent most of the afternoon running for his life as the pressure from the Mountaineer from seven was too much for OSU's offensive line to handle. Time and time again the extra pressure forced Oklahoma State to punt as the Cowboy's were only able to convert six first downs on 20 opportunities.
Coming into today's game, Oklahoma State was a perfect 15-for-15 when it came to scoring touchdowns in the redzone. Not only did West Virginia break their touchdown streak with a big defensive stand in the fourth quarter but when OSU's kicker Ben Grogan missed the 23 yard FG after the stand, it also broke OSU's perfecting scoring percentage in the redzone.
As good of a performance that was by the West Virginia defense it was the gutsy play of FSU transfer Clint Trickett to help will his team to a win. Trickett was long thought to be the starter coming into the season but ultimately had to wait behind first junior Paul Millard and then freshman Ford Childress. After Childress's poor play and injury in the loss to Maryland, Trickett was able to earn his way to today's start and he proved to Mountaineer nation that the coaches were right to put his there.
Trickett's numbers aren't going to grace any West Virginia record books but the son of former WVU offensive line coach Rick Trickett used his feet to continue plays and stretched the field with his arm when West Virginia wasn't able to run the football. Going 24 for 50 Trickett was able to find eight West Virginia receivers for 309 yards and a beautiful touchdown pass to JUCO transfer Kevin White.
Maybe more impressively was how Trickett was able to move the football for two scoring drives in the fourth quarter when it was apparent that he was in tremendous pain with a shoulder injury. Three times in the fourth quarter Trickett stepped up in the pocket to hit receivers for first downs which helped cement the victory on Saturday afternoon for the Mountaineers.