MORGANTOWN -- No one was expecting what happened in Milan Puskar Stadium Saturday afternoon, no one except for maybe a band of West Virginia players that somehow was able to shrug off a 37-0 loss at Maryland the week before to stun No. 11 Oklahoma State 30-21 before 57,280 rollicking fans.
"It was a tough week," WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. "The whole week was challenging. I am really proud of our team, though. The coaches and the players stayed the course."
Forced to start his third quarterback in five games (Florida State transfer Clint Trickett, who replaced an injured Ford Childress), Holgorsen found a winning formula. Boosted by a strong defensive showing against one of the nation's most prolific offenses and ignited by cornerback Ishmael Banks' 58-yard touchdown interception return in the first quarter, WVU took advantage of a flood of breaks to pull off the upset.
"Playing on the road is about avoiding turnovers, perfecting the kicking game and not giving up big plays on defense," said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who saw a five-game winning streak end. "In two of those three areas we were poor. We were poor in the kicking game and we turned the ball over. It's really very simple."
OSU had committed only one turnover in winning its first three games but Banks' interception turned that around, along with the game and maybe WVU's season.
"It was a dream come true," Banks said. "I'd scored in high school, but doing it on this stage meant a lot to me."
That was the first of many problems for Walsh, who finished with 20 completions in 47 tries for 322 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
"He threw two picks. He was overthrowing also. We have to continue to work and catch the football," Gundy said. "The combination of all these things made for a bad day for him."
Trickett, like Banks, had a dream come true. The son of Rick Trickett, a former WVU assistant coach now at Florida State, Trickett, who grew up in Morgantown, got to stand on the field following the upset with his childhood friend Tyler Anderson, a WVU linebacker, next to him, singing "Country Roads" with the crowd.
"That was pretty cool," said Trickett, who completed 24 of 50 passes for 309 yards and one touchdown.
"Clint did a great job of keeping plays alive," Holgorsen said. "I had sense he could. He's been getting better and better and better."
Banks' TD got WVU rolling.
"This gave us some pep in our step and some swagger. It showed we can play with everyone," Banks said.
After that, Trickett took over, helped by a great catch from Kevin White for his first collegiate touchdown to give WVU a 14-7 lead. That was followed by the first of three Josh Lambert field goals to make it 17-7.
Walsh, who earlier had connected with Josh Stewart for a 73-yard score, hit Tracy More with a 27-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to three. But, before halftime, Charles Sims blasted in from the 1 to allow WVU to go into the locker room leading 24-14.
The only score in the third quarter was a 30-yard pass from Walsh to Jeremy Seaton to narrow it to 24-21, but West Virginia got a huge break when Ben Grogan's 23-yard attempt at a tying field goal hit the right upright.
That gave the Mountaineers some breathing room and Lambert put the game away with a pair of fourth-quarter field goals.
NOTES: The most significant change made by Holgorsen other than at quarterback was moving starting left tackle Quinton Spain to left guard. ... WVU's leading tackler, linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, was not dressed and missed the game with a hamstring injury. ... West Virginia had 10 rushing yards in the first half. ... Through three quarters, WVU had run 20 more plays than the 47 plays they ran at Maryland. ... When Oklahoma State missed a 23-yard field goal in the fourth quarter it marked the first time this year they had traveled into the red zone and failed to score a touchdown. They were 15-for-15 until then. ... OSU cornerback Justin Gilbert was ejected and charged with a flagrant personal foul after punching WVU receiver Kevin White late in the fourth quarter.