Mountaineers Fall in Stillwater

  • By John Antonik
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  • October 29, 2016 03:41 PM
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STILLWATER, Okla. - Oklahoma State turned three West Virginia turnovers into 17 points and in the process, ended the Mountaineers’ quest for an undefeated season.
Mason Rudolph completed 26-of-36 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Cowboys to a 37-20 victory over the 10th-ranked Mountaineers.  
It was coach Mike Gundy’s 100th career win at Oklahoma State, now 6-2. 4-1.
“The score looks bad, but statistically the only thing that matters are the three turnovers and those three turnovers led to 17 points and that was the difference in the game,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said.
Oklahoma’s State’s first touchdown came as a result of Vincent Taylor’s strip sack of Skyler Howard, whose fumble Cole Waltersheid recovered at the WVU 8.
Two plays later, Rudolph hit Chris Lacy on a quick slant for a 5-yard touchdown.
OSU got into the end zone once again right before halftime after the Cowboys took over at their own 22 with 5:16 remaining following Mike Molina’s missed 39-yard field goal try. The Cowboys drove the length of the field in 15 plays, consuming all but 15 seconds of the clock. On third and goal at the 3, Rudolph flipped a quick pass out in the flat to Jalen McCleskey and he followed his blockers into the end zone.
West Virginia’s first-half touchdown occurred with 11:28 to go in the second quarter when Howard hit a wide-open Shelton Gibson down the far sideline for a 19-yard score.
Molina put WVU’s first points on the scoreboard on the opening drive of the game with a 36-yard field goal.
Grogan’s two first-half field goals came from distances of 32 and 25 yards.
His third try, from 29 on Oklahoma State’s opening possession of the third quarter, missed to the left.
Then came the big WVU miscue after the defense had produced another stop. WVU took over at the OSU 48 and Howard’s first-down pass over the middle was bobbled by Ka’Raun White right into the arms of Ramon Richards, and his sideline-to-sideline weaving return covered 58 yards to the OSU 9.
Three plays later, Rudolph called his own number and he crossed the goal line from the 2, making the Cowboys’ advantage 27-10.
Right away, West Virginia responded with its best offensive possession of the game by marching from its 25 right down the field. Two runs by Justin Crawford and Kennedy McKoy netted 31 yards, preceding the 19 yards gained on four short Howard passes. Another McKoy run got the ball to the 12, where Howard was able to cross the goal line.
Molina’s conversion pulled the Mountaineers to within 27-17.
Molina contributed three more points on West Virginia’s next possession after the defense forced another punt. West Virginia drove 79 yards, mostly on the ground, to the Oklahoma State 4 where the drive stalled.
Howard’s third-and-goal pass to the corner of the end zone to White was broken up by Richards, requiring Molina to kick a 21-yard field goal.
His score reduced Oklahoma State’s lead to 27-20.
The Cowboys responded with their best offensive possession of the second half, taking the ball from their own 33 and methodically moving the ball down the field. A big third-down bootleg pass from Rudolph to Lacy for 19 yards took the ball to the WVU 19. Two plays later, Rudolph flipped a high-arching pass to the corner of the end zone to Lacy, who made the catch over West Virginia’s Elijah Battle for a 7-yard touchdown.
Grogan’s conversion gave OSU a 34-20 lead with 5:15 showing on the clock.
The Cowboys used another interception, this one coming from backup linebacker Kevin Henry at the WVU 36 which he returned it 26 yards to the 10, to set up Grogan’s chip-shot, 22-yard field goal.
From there, Holgorsen chose to keep the ball on the ground and run out the clock.
In addition to the three turnovers, West Virginia also hurt itself with penalties, the Mountaineers being flagged six times for 46 yards.
Howard’s final stat line showed 24 completions in 39 attempts for 212 yards and a touchdown, while the ground game finished the afternoon with 209 yards - most of those coming in the second half from backups Justin Crawford and Kennedy McKoy. Crawford finished with 87 and McKoy had 83.
Oklahoma State James Washington led the Cowboys with six catches for 117 yards while freshman running back Justice Hill contributed 54 yards on 19 attempts on the ground.
West Virginia drops to 6-1, 3-1 with the loss and will face Kansas next Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The game time will be announced on Sunday.

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