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WVU falls with turnovers, sacks; Cowboys are next

By Staff | Oct 9, 2015

Trailing only 27-24 with the fourth quarter just ahead, West Virginia fell from contention against Oklahoma and dropped a 44-24 unanimous decision to the Sooners in the Mountaineers first Big 12 game of the season.

There were five turnovers as quarterback Skyler Howard suffered three interceptions and lost two fumbles. And the Sooners further punished Howard by sacking him seven times.

Oklahoma remained unbeaten and has four consecutive wins over West Virginia since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 Conference.

West Virginia lost for the first time. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield enjoyed mostly an undisturbed afternoon, often surveying the entire field for an open receiver as West Virginia’s three-man rush failed to even hurry him on most occasions.

If it remains its docile self, that same glaring lack of a pass rush against Mayfield will again be a hurdle with Mt. Everest-like altitude this week when pass-happy Oklahoma State comes to Morgantown for a 7 p.m. game that is Homecoming for the old-grad population.

Oklahoma State is 5-0 against a schedule that included three non-conference wins over tasty competition — Central Michigan, Central Arkansas and Texas-San Antonio.

In its Big 12 games the Cowboys defeated Texas (30-27) and Kansas State (36-34) on a late field goal when trailing by a point.

Last week against Kansas State, the Cowboys had 441 passing yards and just 49 rushing yards.

The Mountaineers certainly should not be guilty of looking past the Cowboys, but if anybody does they will see highly-ranked Baylor and highly-ranked Texas Christian as the two conference opponents just after invading Oklahoma State. Both Baylor and Texas Christian have to be played on the road in a traveling doubleheader of sorts.

If Oklahoma State can’t run for any significant yardage, it will have to rely on its passing game. The same tame rush shown against Oklahoma would probably mean the Mountaineers will have to crank out the points by the dozen in order to stay with the Cowboys on a runaway scoreboard.

At least the Mountaineers have shown a balanced offense so far this season. But five turnovers and seven sacks will negate any kind of a balance a team presents.

Oklahoma State won both its close conference games.

West Virginia smashed its first three foes. But now its the conference schedule and the success that came against Georgia Southern, Liberty and Maryland won’t be at hand if the Mountaineers can’t pressure the Cowboy quarterback . . . and stay away from numbing turnovers.