The beginning of the game in cold and dreary Morgantown could not have started any better for West Virginia’s defense, but the Mountaineers were unable to take advantage of two fumble recoveries in the first five minutes of the game, and now West Virginia trails Oklahoma State at halftime, 23-10.
Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill ripped a 39-yard run on the first play of the game but then fumbled on the next play. Hill also left the game to be evaluated for head and neck pain and a left leg injury. He has not returned to the game. His backup, J.D. King fumbled away the ball on Oklahoma State’s second possession of the game. After each turnover, the Cowboys defense answered the call by forcing a punt after the first fumble and coming up with an interception of Will Grier on the first play after the King fumble. Those missed opportunities, along with having to settle for a field goal from the Oklahoma State six-yard line, could come back to haunt the Mountaineers at home.
The combination of Mason Rudolph to James Washington got the Pokes in the endzone and on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter, and a Rudolph touchdown run from one yard out later in the first quarter gave Oklahoma State a 13-0 lead (a botched hold on an extra point cost Oklahoma State one point. Later in the second quarter, King made up for his earlier fumble by running straight up the gut of the West Virginia defense for a 20-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage after the Cowboys recovered a West Virginia fumble.
West Virginia managed to score a touchdown in the final minute of the half with Kennedy McKoy managing to cross the goal line for a tough one-yard score. It was tough because the exchange between Grier and McKoy was nothing but awkward.