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Old 10-28-2017, 08:55 PM
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Default (11) Oklahoma State 50 West Virginia 39
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Oklahoma State's quick-strike offense and a smothering Cowboy defense subdued 22nd-ranked West Virginia, 50-39, here at soggy Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, West Virginia, this afternoon.

Senior Mason Rudolph threw three touchdown passes, but the story today was a Cowboy front four that controlled the line of scrimmage by limiting West Virginia's run game to just 62 yards and harassed quarterback Will Grier into throwing a season-high four interceptions.

"They whipped us up front," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said afterward. "I thought we would play better. I thought we would have a little more energy, but it was pretty clear and evident to me they were more physical than us up front, offensively and defensively."

"I can't say enough about the defense and their ability to make plays," added Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy.

OSU (7-1, 4-1) used a two-touchdown flurry early in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. Justice Hill, standing on the sidelines after getting injured on the game's second play, returned and ran five yards for the first score and then James Washington added another on a 19-yard reception from Rudolph.

Hill's touchdown was set up by a pass interference penalty on West Virginia's Hakeem Bailey on third and 11, giving Oklahoma State a first down at the WVU 34. Washington's touchdown came after A.J. Green's second interception, which he returned 58 yards to the West Virginia 31.

The 11th-ranked Cowboys added their seventh touchdown when Hill ran untouched into the end zone from the 18. Before that, Grier hit a streaking Marcus Simms down the far sideline for a 68-yard touchdown - Simms' fifth TD reception of the season.

WVU added a late score with 1:25 remaining when Grier drilled a 9-yard touchdown pass to Ka'Raun White, his seventh of the season, Grier completed the two-point conversion pass to David Sills V in the corner of the end zone, making the score 50-39.

Oklahoma State recovered Evan Staley's onside kick and ran out the clock.

"My keys to the game were play four quarters, which we did - we didn't quit," Holgorsen said. "Reduce penalties, which we did. Expected things to happen, which we did. We got breaks, but we could do nothing with them. I've said time after time after time turnover margin doesn't matter, it's what you do when you get turnovers."

At the beginning of the second half, the Cowboys built on their 13-point halftime after Green's first interception gave them the ball at the OSU 39.

Rudolph completed a 14-yard pass to Washington and later hit Dillon Stoner down the middle for 27 yards to the Mountaineer 9. On third and goal at the six, Rudolph completed a pass out in the flat to J.D. King and he stretched the football across the pylon for the touchdown.

Matt Ammedola's conversion kick gave the Cowboys a seemingly commanding 30-10 lead.

Meanwhile, West Virginia's fourth-ranked scoring offense was stuck in reverse for almost the entire third quarter, the Mountaineers netting only three yards on its four three-and-out possessions.

But an Osman Kamara blocked punt recovered in the end zone by Marvin Gross Jr. for a touchdown and a Kenny Robinson 39-yard pick six on the very next possession got the Mountaineers right back into the game in a matter of just 50 seconds of game time.

The blocked punt for a touchdown was the first of this fashion for West Virginia since 2003 against Central Florida, and Robinson's interception return for a score was the Mountaineers' second this season. The other came last month when Mike Daniels returned an interception 25 yards for a score at Kansas.

That was the closest West Virginia could get. Otherwise, Oklahoma State had a firm grip on today's game.

After fumbling twice on its first two possessions of the game, the Cowboys scored the next four times they had the football for a 23-3 lead with 1:52 left in the second quarter.

Rudolph fired a 13-yard touchdown pass to Washington, and then ran it in from the one to give OSU a two-score advantage with 5:14 remaining in the first. Ammendola was unable to get off his second conversion kick, though, leaving the score 13-0.

A Grier 40-yard pass down the near sideline to Sills on the final play of the first quarter gave the Mountaineers a first and 10 at the Cowboy 12. But the drive stalled at the four, forcing Staley to kick a 23-yard field goal - his first as a Mountaineer player.

Staley was in the game in place of regular kicker Mike Molina, who suffered a hip injury during practice yesterday, according to Holgorsen.

Here, Oklahoma State marched 70 yards in 13 plays, seven of those runs by King, to put Ammendola in position to boot a 35-yard field goal and extend OSU's lead to 16-3.

Another quick possession by West Virginia - one of five it had in the first half - gave the football right back to Oklahoma State at the 44 following a 22-yard Billy Kinney punt.

But the defense held. Corner Elijah Battle broke up up Rudolph's third-down pass over the middle to Washington, forcing the Cowboys to punt for the first time in the game. Zach Sinor's short kick was fair caught by Simms at the 21.

On the next play, Justin Crawford fumbled and the football was recovered by defensive tackle Taaj Bakari at the WVU 20, setting up King's 20-yard jaunt on OSU's first play.

Ammendola's successful conversion kick gave the Cowboys a 23-3 lead with 4:46 remaining in the second quarter.

After an exchange of possessions, West Virginia had the ball at its own 40 with 1:52 left in the half. Two Kennedy McKoy runs netted 11 yards, giving Grier enough space to complete a 36-yard pass down the near sideline to White, who slid down at the OSU 13.

One second and 10, Grier hit McKoy coming out of the backfield for eight yards to the five. A Grier pass into the end zone to Gary Jennings Jr. fell incomplete, making fourth and two at the five. McKoy got three yards and a first down to the two, and then two plays later he pushed the ball across the goal line with 13 seconds left in the half.

Grier, the first quarterback in school history to pass for more than 300 yards in each of his first seven games, had his toughest afternoon as a Mountaineer, misfiring on 22 of his 42 attempts. Sills, the nation's leading touchdown catcher with 15 heading into today's game, was shut out of the end zone for only the second time this season. He was held to three receptions for 44 yards.

"They've got a good defense, but I figured we would play better up front and we did not," Holgorsen said. "We didn't run the ball good; we didn't block and pass protection was not good."

Outside linebacker David Long Jr. played a terrific game for the Mountaineer defense, the junior officially credited with 18 total tackles, seven of those for a loss of 16 yards, while also recovering one of Oklahoma State's three fumbles.

Rudolph was an efficient 20-of-34 for 216 yards through the air, while King came in for Hill and ran 36 times for 142 yards. Hill contributed 86 yards on 12 totes.

Washington was the game's leading receiver with seven catches for 91 yards.

"I'm thrilled with the way our team overcomes adversity," Gundy said. "We had our backs to the wall after the two non-offensive touchdowns that we gave up and our guys came back and made some plays."

West Virginia's loss today likely delivers a fatal blow to its Big 12 Championship game hopes, the Mountaineers now dropping to 5-3, 3-2.

"We're sitting here at 5-3 with three losses to top-12 teams," Holgorsen said. "We're just not as good as those top-12 teams, I guess.

"This is where we're currently at, and it's about to get real uncomfortable around here," Holgorsen warned.

An announced crowd of 57,507 watched today's game.

The Mountaineers have another tough one next weekend against a much-improved Iowa State team playing at home today against TCU. The Cyclones already count conference wins over Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas Tech heading into play this weekend

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