No. 6 Oklahoma’s offense has been its customary explosive self and its defense has made plays of its own, staking the visiting Sooners to a 35-28 halftime lead over No. 13 West Virginia in Morgantown.
In any shootout, it’s the plays that take points off the board that prove to be crucial. The first of those went against West Virginia when Will Grier‘s 8-yard touchdown pass to Gary Jennings, Jr. was wiped off the board due to an offensive pass interference penalty on David Sills V. Rather than owning a 21-14 lead three minutes into the second quarter, West Virginia faced a 3rd-and-19. The Mountaineers picked up 13 yards on a Kennedy McKoy run, but, knowing only touchdowns would beat Oklahoma, WVU dialed up a 4th-and-6 pass, but Grier overshot his intended receiver, giving the OU defense the first stop of the game.
After its defense held serve, Oklahoma’s offense issued its first mistake of the game when Kyler Murray fumbled the ball on a 16-yard run to the WVU 22, keeping the score at 14-14.
Given a second chance to take its third lead of the first half, West Virginia again was stopped, posting the game’s first three-and-out and its first punt. Oklahoma needed only two plays to grab its first lead, hitting Marquise Brown for a 65-yard catch-and-run to the WVU 1, which set up a Trey Sermon plunge to put the Sooners up 21-14 with 7:12 left in the first half.
After two straight scoreless drives, West Virginia answered with a 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by the second Grier-to-Sills scoring strike of the night, evening the score at 21-21 with 4:14 left in the first half.
Oklahoma wasted no time in retaking the lead when Kennedy Brooks raced 68 yards for a touchdown, putting the Sooners back in front at 28-21. After the Murray fumble, Oklahoma’s next two possessions both found the end zone in just two plays. After its offense made a big play, the much-maligned defense came up with its biggest of the season when linebacker Caleb Kelly stripped Grier of the ball and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown, pushing the OU edge to 35-21.
West Virginia rebounded to go 81 yards in 13 plays, scoring on a 1-yard McKoy plunge with 18 seconds left in the half to pull within 35-28, but Oklahoma receives to open the second half.
In just 25 snaps, Oklahoma gained 367 yards, running for 199 and three scores while Murray hit 9-of-12 passes for 168 yards and a score. Grier was 20-of-29 for 262 yards with two touchdowns.