WVU collides with Boomer Sooners
It’s the Boomer Sooners from Oklahoma, ranked 4th in the country and coming to Morgantown for Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. game with a 3-0 record, against the Mountaineers and their 2-1 record that came with a last-seconds, Josh Lambert 47-yard field goal that tamed Maryland, 40-37, in the crucible of excitement at Byrd Stadium in College Park.
Oklahoma has beaten Louisiana Tech, Tulsa and Tennessee in its three non-conference games. The Mountaineers lost in Atlanta to Alabama, blanked Towson in Morgantown and then got past the Terrapins as their fans had goose flesh and hoarseness at the end of the wildly fluctuating game.
The Sooners have outscored their three opponents 55-0 in the first quarter. Their total offense figures show 880 pasing yards and 590 rushing yards. Trevor Knight, a first-year starter at quarterback, has thrown 101 times, completing 60 and being intercepted twice. He has four touchdown passes.
Zach Sanchez already has three interceptions.
Special teams blunders in the fourth quarter almost caused WVU to lose at Maryland. A muffed punt and a blocked Lambert field goal attempt were somehow overcome in the final seconds as quarterback Clint Trickett threw for some of his 511 yards. Trickett and company moved close enough to the Terps’ end zone for Lambert to boot a 47-yard field goal as the last seconds bled off the clock.
The Mountaineers had 33 first downs and a massive 694 yards of total offense. Trickett’s passing yardage was the second-highest in school history.
In his three games this season, Trickett has completed 75 percent of his passes, going 101-for-134 for 1,224 yards and seven touchdowns. He has been intercepted only once.
Leading rusher Rushel Shell was banged up in the fierceness at Maryland but had 27 carries. He now has 207 ground yards. Wendell Smallwood, Dremius Smith and the one-time first teamer Andrew Buie all have at least 15 carries on the season.
Receivers Kevin White and Mario Alford have dominated Trickett’s vision so far but Smallwood and Jordan Thompson both have at least 10 receptions.
Lambert is 5-for-8 on his field goal tries.
The Mountaineers once had a 28-6 lead against the Terrapins, but were almost ruined in the last quarter by their enigmatic special teams.
Jarrod Harper (Mountain Ridge High in Frostburg) was the Special Teams Player of the Week and it seemed Nick Kwiatkoski, Daryl Worley and Isaiah Bruce did the most defensive damage to Maryland’s chances.
It’s a Stripe the Stadium night in Morgantown with gold and blue sections being alternated in the stands.
Oklahoma was a preseason favorite to win the Big 12 race and possibly represent the conference in the four-team playoffs leading to the national championship.
West Virginia has shown marked improvement compared with 2013’s dismal finish and 4-8 overall record.
If backgrounds mean anything, there will be points and more points flying through the night sky on Saturday.
The winner takes the early lead in the conference race. A West Virginia win would open eyes and gape mouths in Big 12 outposts.