Playing on the road is difficult for any team in any sport, and Oklahoma State got a first-hand look at just how difficult it can be, when West Virginia, which looked abolutely terrible the previous week, rose up on Saturday and upset the No. 11-ranked Cowboys.
West Virginia, which until Saturday, had given up more points than its offense had scored, never trailed in the game after taking a 14-7 first-quarter lead and held OSU to just seven points in the second half in holding on for a stunning 30-21 victory. The Mountaineers, which looked as if they couldn’t beat anybody in a 37-0 loss to a very average Maryland team the week earlier, played like giant killers in rolling up 388 yards of total offense against a Cowboy offense that had not given up a touchdown to two of its three previous opponents this season.
The loss by the team voted by the Big 12 coaches as the preseason favorite to win the conference this season is a damaging blow to Oklahoma State’s title chances, with games with high-scoring Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State still ahead. Fortunately for the Cowboys, all of those games are in Stillwater.
“There were times when we were functioning and doing fine, and then we’d have a drop or two, then a poor throw and then we’d put the ball on the ground,” said Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy after the game. “Those aren’t small mistakes. Those are big mistakes.”
You also can’t discount the fact that West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen was the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State before taking the West Virginia job. The Cowboys still run a lot of what Holgorsen installed on offense when he was there.
Oklahoma State-West Virginia was the only conference game on Saturday’s schedule, but next week offers up a full slate of head-to-head Big 12 action.
The Big 12 won some national attention over the weekend with Oklahoma’s 35-21 victory over No. 22-ranked Notre Dame. It was the Sooners’ second win all-time in 11 tries against the Fighting Irish and provided a measure or revenge from last season’s 30-14 home loss against Notre Dame. Oklahoma intercepted Irish quarterback Tommy Rees three times, all three leading to Sooner touchdowns. Oklahoma is now 4-0 on the season, and the Sooners have now won nine consecutive games against teams they lost to in the previous season.
Two of the OU interceptions came on the first two Notre Dame possessions. Oklahoma took a 14-0 advantage with over 12 minutes still to go in the first quarter.
Only two other conference teams were in action in Week 5 of the college football season. Iowa State earned a 38-21 road victory over Tulsa of Conference USA, the Cyclones’ first win of the season after two successive losses. Oklahoma defeated Tulsa 51-20 two weeks ago in a game played in Norman. Iowa State rushed for 179 yards and held Tulsa to just 86 yards on the ground. the Golden Hurricanes had 317 yards rushing when these same two teams met in the Liberty Bowl last season, a 31-17 win by Tulsa.
TCU trailed Dallas-Ft. Worth rival SMU 10-7 at the half on Saturday, but roared back in the second half, rolling up 41 points to quickly turn around the game and win going away, 48-17. TCU sophomore quarterback Trevone Boykin threw two touchdown passes and threw for 228 yards to lead the Horned Frog offense.
Baylor (3-0), Kansas State (2-2), Texas Tech (4-0) and Kansas (2-1) were off this past weekend.
Five Things We Learned From the Week 5 Big 12 Action
- Good news or bad news? Kansas State will have had an extra week to prepare for its next opponent, Oklahoma State. That’s the good news. The potential bad news, if you’re a K-State fan, is that the Cowboys will be much more focused for Saturday’s game with the visiting Wildcats than they might have been had they not lost at West Virginia. Something else to consider: Kansas State has not gone 0-2 to start conference play since going 0-3 in Big 12 action in 2004.
- Questions about Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell’s ability to pass the ball have been answered over his last two games. In his first two collegiate starts – against Tulsa and Notre Dame – the “Belldozer, as he is known, for his short-yardage running ability – has completed 71 percent of his pass attempts (52 of 73) for 683 yards, six touchdowns, no interceptions and, most importantly, two wins.
- Clint Trickett, a transfer from Florida State, is the third quarterback to start a game this season for West Virginia. Junior Paul Millard started the Mountaineers’ first two games. He was replace by redshirt freshman Ford Childress against Maryland. Trickett came into the Maryland game when Childress suffered an injury. Mountaineer head coach Dana Holgorsen reported there were 21 changes in the two-deep chart after West Virginia lost 37-o to Maryland the week before.
- Texas showed a week ago against Kansas State that the Horns are still capable of being very dangerous and living up to the Texas tradition. We’ll see which Texas team shows up for the game in Ames, Iowa, this Thursday. With its first win of the season now under its belt, Iowa State will be in a much better frame of mind for the visiting Longhorns than the Cyclones would have been had they gone 0-3 in the nonconference schedule. “I promise you, next week’s worth of practices will be completely different than the last month’s have been,” Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads said after his team’s win over Tulsa on Saturday. “Everyone will have a little more bounce in their step now.”
- TCU junior safety Sam Carter had a career game Saturday in his team’s 48-17 win over SMU. Carter had five tackles, a quarterback sack, he for4ced a fumble and had two interceptions, one returned 66 yards for a touchdown. For this outstanding performance, he was named the Walter Camp Foundation National Defensive Player of the Week.