No. 9 West Virginia’s College Football Playoff hopes were squashed in Stillwater.
The Mountaineers led for almost the entirety of regulation until Oklahoma State’s Taylor Cornelius hit Tylan Wallace for an 11-yard touchdown with 42 seconds to go. That connection gave OSU a 45-41 lead.
West Virginia, with its Big 12 title and CFP hopes on the line, moved the ball to the 14-yard line for one final play. Will Grier, who delivered a beautiful ball to Gary Jennings to get his team in position, felt pressure and lobbed one up to David Sills, but the pass was broken up.
That sealed the upset for Oklahoma State, who clinched bowl eligibility, and spoiled WVU’s CFP chances in dramatic fashion.
West Virginia’s defense could not hold on
West Virginia dominated things early and took a 31-14 lead into halftime.
Oklahoma State clawed back with 10 third-quarter points, but West Virginia took a 41-31 lead on a fourth-down Will Grier touchdown run with 7:37 to play.
But West Virginia’s defense could not make a stop when it was needed most. Following Grier’s score, Oklahoma State marched 78 yards in 10 plays, scoring on a Cornelius nine-yard run just 2:50 later. From there, the ball went back to the powerful WVU offense, which had a chance to run out the clock and pull out the win. Instead, it went three-and-out.
That set the stage for Cornelius to be the hero on senior day. Cornelius picked up two first downs with his legs. Wonderfully-named running back Chuba Hubbard did the same without much resistance from the WVU defense. On a first-down play from the 11, Cornelius tossed his fifth touchdown of the game, the game-winner to Wallace.
Cornelius, a fifth-year senior in his first season as starter, finished the game with 338 passing yards, 106 rushing yards and six total touchdowns.
West Virginia can still win the Big 12 title
Though its CFP chances are no more, if West Virginia beats No. 6 Oklahoma at home next week, it will clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game. And because Texas beat Iowa State later Saturday, UT can clinch a spot in the title game with a win over Kansas.
A win for WVU over the Sooners would set up a rematch of a one-point win over UT from a few weeks ago. It would also effectively knock the Big 12 from the College Football Playoff. No two-win team has ever landed a spot in the four-team field.
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