The Dominion Post  

Sooners sock WVU in regular-season finale, 59-31

Created on:   Sat, Nov 25, 2017   11:14 PM

Last modified:   Sat, Nov 25, 2017   11:14 PM

For The Dominion Post

NORMAN, Okla. — The odds were stacked against WVU.

Going on the road without its starting quarterback and facing a high- powered team like Oklahoma was not the easiest game it could have picked to end the regular season.

But the Mountaineers have always seemed to play the Sooners tough in games that were emotional and heated.

Unfortunately, that was not the case Nov. 25, when the Mountaineers traveled to Norman to take on the fourth-ranked Sooners.

While emotions did run high between the teams, WVU was unable to slow the Sooners in any form as Oklahoma rolled, 59-24, at Memorial Stadium.

“I knew they were good offensively going into this thing,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. “I don’t want to beat up our defense. We’ve played real good defense around here the last three or four years. I like what we’re doing. They obliviously had their way with us tonight.”

After being held out of the starting lineup for his actions last week, in Kansas, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t enter the game until the Sooners’ (11-1) second possession.

Already trailing, 7-3, WVU (7-5) found itself in a deeper hole when Mayfield connected with CeeDee Lamb for a short touchdown pass.

“That’s an offense that is tough to stop,” Holgorsen said. “Six (Mayfield) is the best player in college football. He’s got a lot of really good people around him. Up front, they play nasty, they’re experienced and they're huge.”

The Mountaineers had no problems moving the ball early on. The offensive line blew open holes in the Sooners’ defense, and the backs found wide running lanes into the secondary.

But when they got into the red zone, they fell apart. After WVU settled for a field goal on the first possession, tailback Justin Crawford fumbled on O.U.’s
11-yard line the next time WVU had the ball.

With quarterback Will Greer suffering a broken middle finger last week, Chris Chugunov got the start. But as effective as the running game was in the first half, he wasn’t asked to do too much early.

WVU put the game on the backs of Kennedy Mc-
Koy, Crawford and the offensive line as they manhandled the O.U. front seven.

On the third straight possession, the Mountaineers found themselves deep in Oklahoma territory. This time, they put six points on the board when McKoy plowed into the end zone on a fourth-and-1 call. The deficit was closed to

WVU attempted an onside kick. It almost worked to perfection, but a Mountaineers player touched the ball before it went
10 yards.

O.U. took over on the
45-yard line and drove into the WVU red zone. The Mountaineers forced the Sooners into a fourth-and-one. But after several near fights and brawls, Anderson scored his third touchdown of the half to put O.U. up, 28-10.

The Mountaineers kept hurting themselves offensively. Without Greer under center, they couldn’t produce a consistent passing game. This allowed Oklahoma to concentrate on the WVU running attack, which it shut down in the second quarter.

Oklahoma scored 17 more points to close out the first half and take a
45-10 halftime lead. The game was over.

“This is going to be short and sweet,” WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said. “Defensively, we sucked up front. We sucked at linebacker. We sucked at DB. Dana should probably fire me after that.”

Mayfield played only two quarters but still managed 281 yards and three touchdown passes. Rodney Anderson had his second four-touchdown game of the season for the Sooners.

In his first start, Chugunov finished 8-of-13 for 107 yards. McKoy rushed for 140 yards. That included lining up as the quarterback in the wildcat set.

David Sills led the WVU receivers with 55 yards on two catches.

“It was a lot of fun. It was loud out there,” Chugunov said. “It was definitely an exciting atmosphere just being out there fighting with my boys, struggling and trying to do our best to win.”

The win sends Oklahoma into the Dec. 2 Big 12 championship game riding a seven-game win streak and looking for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

“At the end of the day, that’s what a championship team looks like,” Holgorsen said. “They’re playing in the Big 12 championship, and we’re not.”