West Virginia is enduring its share of issues these days, but the team had a chance to forget about them on Saturday and just enjoy its surprising 30-21 triumph over Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers looked dreadful in a blowout loss to Maryland the week prior, but they were able to find some new life and topple a Cowboys group that came into the day ranked in the top 15.
The Mountaineers are struggling to find a replacement for Geno Smith, leading Dana Holgorsen to try several different options. In this case, he turned to Florida State transfer Clint Trickett, who made his first start in a WVU uniform. Trickett didn't wow anybody, but as our West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket explained afterward, his effort was important to the victory:
Leading that offense was Clint Trickett making his first start at quarterback. Trickett's numbers won't jump off the page at you - he was 24 of 49 for 310 yards, a touchdown and a pair of interceptions, but his effort and toughness could not be questioned. Time and time again the 6'2, 180-pound signal caller picked himself up off the turf to lead his team down the field, once having to go all the way to the locker room to receive treatment on his injured throwing arm. Trickett himself was blunt in his personal assessment after the game on WVU's postgame radio coverage: "good enough to win, not good enough to get where I need to be."
How well the 3-2 Mountaineers fare the rest of the way remains to be seen, but there's no doubting this was a huge victory for a team that needed a boost. Still, it wasn't all fun and games. Dana Holgorsen took out some mid-game rage on his poor malfunctioning headset, which is now permanently malfunctioning.
Oklahoma State has some quarterback questions of its own, but perhaps the problem runs deeper. Robert Whetsell of Oklahoma State blog Cowboys Ride For Free wasn't pleased in the least with the calls made by offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich:
As for Yurcich and his play calling... it was bad. Not a single deep throw, except when [quarterback J.W. Walsh] was scrambling. J.W. has plenty of arm strength but his technique is awful and, much like golf, that is where he loses his power. Going to the same running plays on 3rd down, especially in 3+ yard situations, was idiotic. The goal line play calling was laughable. West Virginia's defense is pretty decent, but the running game did not force them to cover the both sides of the field. Plays to the edges generally took too long to develop.
Walsh struggled under the circumstances, completing just 42.6 percent of his throws and tossing a pair of interceptions. But Whetsell doesn't think the team has a better option at this point.
Here are the highlights from WVU's upset win: