West Virginia was only a few mishaps away from winning its first game ever on the road against a top-5 team when it faced the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday night.
However, a false start inside the five-yard line and a low snap for a 21-yard loss on their final drive capped the chance for the Mountaineers in a 16-13 loss in Norman, Oklahoma.
Overall, West Virginia outplayed the Sooners and for the majority of the game it looked like the superior team and not a 17-point underdog. In the first half, Oklahoma totaled just 91 yards. The lowest yardage total for the Sooners in a half since 2015.
That stat won’t define this game. Neither will four sacks and an interception against Heisman trophy contending quarterback Spencer Rattler. No, that won’t define this game either.
What will define this game is a false start on West Virginia on second-and-goal from the OU one-yard line in the third quarter and a snap miscommunication at the Oklahoma 33-yard line that lost WVU 21 yards on its final offensive drive.
Those mishaps will define this game.
At times, head coach Neal Brown had a revolving door going with his quarterbacks between Jarret Doege and Garrett Greene. Despite, potential issues with switching quarterbacks throughout the game, Brown has committed to the gameplan he has in place.
“We had a plan about when we were going to use it,” Brown said. “We knew down in the redzone area is when we wanted to play him (Greene). I thought that he did some really good things and made some good decisions.”
“For where we’re at, I think it’s going to be a mixture of both. It’s kind of the way I felt it was going to be going into the spring, but Garrett didn’t materialize the way we thought he was going to,” Brown added.
West Virginia did look like the better team, but in the end when it had opportunities to take control or win the game, it couldn’t. That’s what has separated the Mountaineers from Oklahoma since joining the Big 12 and what continues to separate them.
West Virginia competed in this game, but the routine mistakes plagued it again and secured this win for Oklahoma. The Big 12 is a wide-open league right now with teams like Iowa State already starting conference play with a loss.
If WVU wants to be a contender in this league in 2021 and for years to come, it has to make more plays to win games.
“I hurt in the pit of my stomach for our players,” Brown said. “I hurt because we had a plan that we came in here, we fought against the team that year and year out is at the top of the recruiting rankings. They’ve [Oklahoma] been dominant in our league and we had an opportunity to win and we just didn’t.”