West Virginia quarterback Will Grier picked the wrong day to have his worst game wearing the old gold and blue.
Oklahoma State came into Morgantown and forced Grier to throw four interceptions. It was a sloppy game in the pouring rain as both teams combined for nine turnovers. In the end, OSU did enough to earn a convincing 50-39 win against West Virginia on Saturday.
While the Mountaineers struggled on offense, the Cowboys thrived. Except the yards and points came in an unconventional way for the visiting team. With quarterback Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State is the top passing team in the nation. But against West Virginia, the Cowboys went to the ground to earn the win.
OSU didn’t even use its starting running back to down the Mountaineers. Justice Hill was hurt on the first series of the game, so freshman J.D. King came in and amazed the crowd. He tallied 142 yards on 36 attempts and a touchdown run. Hill checked back into the game later and finished with two touchdowns and a long run of 39 yards.
The West Virginia running game couldn’t get off the ground, and neither could the passing game. Usually, the Mountaineers are able to use the run to open up the pass, but for the third consecutive game the team couldn’t get a rusher to put up more than 100 yards. Justin Crawford finished with 45 yards on 13 carries, while Kennedy McKoy added 30 yards on nine carries.
With the loss, Grier had his streak of consecutive games throwing more than 300 yards snapped. He finished with 285 yards by completing 20 of 42 passes. His accuracy and smoothness was off all game. The weather and the pressure put on by the OSU defense really messed with Grier and it was apparent from the start. He couldn’t shake the early issues and he was plagued by the ailment for most of the day.
Gary Jennings caught the most passes for the Mountaineers with six for 58 yards. Marcus Simms and Ka’Raun White each had a touchdown catch and finished with 80 and 78 yards, respectively. David Sills, who has been Grier’s favorite target all season, was limited to just three catches for 44 yards and one of those receptions was a grab of 40 yards.
West Virginia scored two unconventional touchdowns that allowed it to garner momentum and have a chance to make the game more interesting. A blocked punt allowed the team to jump on the ball in the end zone and score a touchdown before WVU’s Kenny Robinson recorded a pick-six.
Too many mistakes cost West Virginia what, at one point, was a winnable game. The Cowboys scored off the turnovers while West Virginia couldn’t capitalize on some of its chances. It would have been nice to win this game, but there is still more time left in the season for West Virginia to get back on track.
It won’t be easy, but West Virginia still has an outside shot at making the Big 12 Championship Game. That tough road is highlighted again next week with the Mountaineers welcoming a red-hot Iowa State team to Milan Puskar Stadium.