NORMAN — Oklahoma’s 16-7 win against West Virginia wasn’t one for the football purists, but it did get the job done on a night unfortunately characterized more by crucial errors than stellar play.
There certainly were bright spots for both teams, especially on defense; but, when both teams combine for eight turnovers and just one touchdown each – especially when those teams put up a combined 99 points in their meeting the previous season – something has gone wrong somewhere.
“You rush the ball for 316 yards, it’s pretty special,” Sooners head coach Bob Stoops said. “Some of the areas that weren’t is turnovers. It’s hard to win when you turn the ball over.”
The game began as if it would be an outing similar to last year when West Virginia put up over 700 yards of offense against Oklahoma. After both teams were stopped on their opening drives, the Mountaineers showed they’ve got a running game, too. Dreamius Smith charged through the defensive line and bolted past six would-be tacklers to put West Virginia up 7-0 with just over six minutes gone.
On their next drive, the Sooner’s struggled to move the ball once again, but they were saved by a roughing the kicker call when Daryl Whorley clattered into Jed Barnett. This gave the Sooners another chance, but they were only able to offer a Hunnicutt field goal to make the score 7-3.
Oklahoma got a second chance for a second time when the West Virginia return man dropped a punt to give the Sooners a short field at 32 yards. Damien Williams, who deserved a touchdown after running for a hard fought 95 yards on 21 carries, was brought down just before he completed the 17-yard jaunt into the end zone. This only prolonged the inevitable. Knight rolled to his right and found fullback Trey Millard for a 1 yard touchdown pass. OU took its first lead of the game at 10-7.