West Virginia’s win streak is over. The Mountaineers turned the ball over three times in a 37-20 Oklahoma State win that ended WVU’s undefeated season.
Oklahoma State turned those three turnovers into 17 points, perhaps not-so-coincidentally a number that was the Cowboys’ margin of victory. Because the game was fairly evenly matched. If you overlook those turnovers, of course. But it’s impossible to do that.
WVU quarterback Skyler Howard threw two second-half interceptions. The first bounced off the hands of receiver Ka’Raun White and was returned to the West Virginia 9 by OSU’s Ramon Richards. Three plays later, OSU QB Mason Rudolph scored on a two-yard touchdown run to make the score 27-10.
Rudolph accounted for four touchdowns as Oklahoma State didn’t turn the ball over once. He was a tidy 26-of-36 passing for 273 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those went to Chris Lacy, who caught Oklahoma State’s final touchdown of the game to make the game 34-20.
The win puts Oklahoma State at 6-2, a 6-2 record that should be 7-1. Remember, OSU lost in Week 2 when officials incorrectly gave Central Michigan an untimed down after an Oklahoma State intentional grounding to end the game. The Chippewas scored on a Hail Mary (and lateral) on the untimed down to take the win.
The officiating gaffe is what’s separating Oklahoma State from being on the periphery of the College Football Playoff discussion right now. Yes, the Cowboys aren’t perfect — running the football is still a problem — but they’re just a game outside of Baylor and Oklahoma for first in the Big 12.
Yes, the Bears beat Oklahoma State, but they’ve already played Kansas and Iowa State. The odds of Baylor going undefeated vs. the southern part of the Big 12 aren’t very good. And with West Virginia’s loss, the Bears are now the only undefeated team remaining in a wide-open conference.
All isn’t lost for West Virginia, though the Mountaineers have yet to play a ranked opponent as well. Oklahoma State was the best team WVU has faced so far, and this wasn’t pretty. With games coming up vs. Oklahoma and Baylor, West Virginia still largely controls its own destiny for the league title.
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