No. 9 Oklahoma raced to a massive lead and held off a late surge from No. 14 West Virginia to secure a 56-28 win in a snowy Morgantown on Saturday night.
The first 40 minutes of the contest was a story of how Oklahoma could do nothing wrong and West Virginia couldn’t get out of its own way. It started when West Virginia muffed a punt after OU’s first possession, which the Sooners immediately turned into a touchdown. That theme continued, as West Virginia twice coughed up the ball inside the Sooners’ 5-yard line and committed a number of personal fouls, which, coupled with big plays from Oklahoma’s 4-headed monster of Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine, Joe Mixon and Dede Westbrook, aided the Sooners to a 34-7 halftime lead.
West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard compounded the misery when he tossed an 80-yard pick six to OU linebacker Jordan Evans, pushing the lead to 41-7 at the 13:09 mark of the third quarter.
Hidden inside that 34-point deficit, though, was that West Virginia moved the ball well in between turnovers. Once Evans left the game with an injury and WVU stopped shooting itself with both feet, the Mountaineers mounted scoring drives of 63, 79 and 85 yards to turn a 41-7 laugher into a 41-28 shootout with 10:07 still remaining.
But Oklahoma, which had done absolutely nothing offensively in the second half, put together one last drive, moving 65 yards in 11 plays, capped by a 1-yard Mayfield run and a 2-point pass to tight end Mark Andrews to push the lead to 49-28 with 4:37 to play.
Mayfield finished the night completing 9-of-15 passes for 169 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while adding two scores on the ground. Perine and Mixon combined to carry 55 times for 307 yards and three touchdowns, and Westbrook caught two passes for 100 yards and a score.
For its part, West Virginia nearly matched OU yard-for-yard. Howard hit 12-of-26 throws for 191 yards with two scores and a pick-six while rushing 12 times for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Justin Crawford poured in a monster night with 24 carries for 331 yards.
The win pushes Oklahoma (9-2, 8-0 Big 12) into a winner-take-all Bedlam game with No. 11 Oklahoma State on Dec. 3, while West Virginia (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) has been eliminated from Big 12 contention but can still record just the sixth 11-win season in program history.