Oklahoma State wins Big 12 showdown at West Virginia
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Even without a week of practice, Mason Rudolph outshined Will Grier in the rain.
Rudolph threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead No. 11 Oklahoma State to a 50-39 victory over No. 22 West Virginia on Saturday.
A senior, Rudolph earned his 29th win as a starter, breaking the school record set by current coach Mike Gundy from 1986 to 1989.
Rudolph was in uniform but held out of practice over the past week in order to rest. Gundy said Rudolph was “dinged” after a win at Texas but didn't specify any injury.
“I felt great today,” Rudolph said. “I was pretty confident. I think had it been my freshman year and I hadn't practiced all week, I might have been a little mentally kind of out of it. I'm just really confident in our offense the way I can grasp it.”
Rudolph finished 20 of 34 for 216 yards. The national passing yards leader prevailed in a matchup with Grier, who entered the game first in the FBS with 26 touchdown passes.
Grier threw four interceptions, and his streak of seven consecutive 300-yard passing games ended. He finished 20 of 42 for 285 yards and two TDs.
In winning its fourth in a row, Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) scored four touchdowns following West Virginia turnovers, and the Mountaineers couldn't come back from their biggest deficit of the season.
“I can't say enough about the defense and their ability to make plays,” Gundy said. “We got some pressure on the quarterback and forced some overthrows.”
Freshman J.D. King ran for a season-high 142 yards and scored twice in place of Big 12 leading rusher Justice Hill, who left after fumbling the ball away in the game's first series. King had 36 carries, more than doubling his previous high for the season.
West Virginia (5-3, 3-2) entered the game fifth in total offense in the nation and was limited to 347 yards, 192 under its average.
“It was pretty clear and evident to me that they were more physical than us,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Offensively and defensively both, I thought they dominated up front and when that happens, it's going to be tough.”
Rudolph found King with a 6-yard-scoring pass early in the third quarter to put Oklahoma State ahead 30-10. Rudolph also had TD tosses of 13 and 19 yards to James Washington.
After West Virginia scored a pair of quick touchdowns, Oklahoma State pulled away again when Hill returned in the fourth quarter, when he had scoring runs of 5 and 18 yards.
Oklahoma State: Following the 13-10 win at Texas, Gundy wanted his running game to improve, especially on first down, to set up the pass. After averaging 2.9 yards per rush last week, the Cowboys were solid on the ground, with 246 yards.
West Virginia: On Oct. 14, the Mountaineers came from 18 points down to beat Texas Tech at home. Grier couldn't summon a similar comeback this time, both overthrowing and throwing behind his targets. The loss puts the Mountaineers in a big hole in the quest for a spot in the conference championship game.
Two TDs, no offense
West Virginia stormed back in the third quarter without the help of its offense. Little-used redshirt freshman Osman Kamara blocked a punt and teammate Marvin Gross recovered the ball in the end zone. Fifty seconds later, Kenny Robinson, who lost his starting job this week at cornerback, returned an interception 39 yards to cut the deficit to 30-24.
Sills a nonfactor
West Virginia's David Sills V, who entered the game leading the nation with 15 receiving TDs, six more than anyone else, failed to score a touchdown for only the second time this season. He had three catches for 44 yards.
Oklahoma State could move back into the Top 10, while West Virginia likely will fall out of the rankings.