They are who we thought they were. For Oklahoma and West Virginia, each offense showed their worth. Both teams combined for 1,372 total yards and 115 points. But, ironically, the Sooners defense was the difference. Oklahoma scored twice on defense as the Sooners outlast West Virginia to reach the Big 12 championship game, 59-56.
Heisman Candidates go toe to toe
Outside of the winner take all for a chance to play for a conference championship, this game also served as a Heisman Trophy elimination game. Will Grier and Kyler Murray gave the national audience everything they could have asked for. Murray will receive the edge due to the win. However, Grier had the second-best passing game in Mountaineer school history.
Comparatively, both players did have costly turnovers in the ball game. With the game tied at 14 in the first half, Murray fumbled the ball at the Mountaineer 22-yard line after a 16-yard run. And, with the Sooner clinging to a seven-point lead out of halftime, Murray threw an interception in the Mountaineer end zone on 3rd down. However, Murray threw for 364 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 114 yards and another score. His Heisman moment may have come on a late 4th down conversion with a pass to CeeDee Lamb to seal the game.
All things considered, Grier had a fantastic game in his last home game as a Mountaineer. He threw for 539 yards and four touchdowns and added a rushing score as well. Gary Jennings was his favorite target as Jennings snagged seven balls for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Ultimately, the turnovers did prove to be the game decider. Grier suffered two fumbles which were both returned by Sooner linebackers Caleb Kelly and Curtis Bolton for scoop and scores in the contest.
Back and Forth We Go
Earlier in the week, we promised a game that you needed the tub of popcorn ready for and it did not disappoint. The game was replete with momentum-swinging plays. Oklahoma had the opportunity to go for the jugular on multiple occasions, but couldn’t get it done. Oklahoma took a 14-point lead with just over three minutes left in the first half. A stop would give the Sooners a touchdown lead with the ball coming out of the halftime break. However, the Mountaineers went on a 13 play 81-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown run to make the score 35-28 at the half.
Now, the second half started inauspiciously for the Sooners. After two possessions for each squad, West Virginia had taken back the lead at 42-38. After both teams traded scores, the Sooners took back a 10-point lead after Bolton’s fumble recovery touchdown at 59-49. Finally, the Sooners scrapped to hold on for the three-point win.
Sooners Get Defensive?
It sounds peculiar to say that a team that gave up 56 points and over 700 yards won the game on the defensive side of the ball. But, that’s exactly what happened. The Sooner defense played far from well. But, the opportunistic Sooners scored 14 defensive points that ended up being the difference.
Despite the scores, the lack of defensive playmaking again was the prevailing narrative on the evening. Oklahoma became the first team since the 1930s to surrender 40 points or more in four consecutive games and still win. At some point, Oklahoma is bound to get burned if improvement cannot be made.
Even with a trip to the Big 12 championship game, Oklahoma certainly does not control their own destiny. Sooner fans will most certainly be watching in Columbus and Los Angeles tomorrow. Notre Dame faces USC at the Coliseum with a win and in scenario for the College Football Playoffs. Also, Michigan faces Ohio State for a trip to the Big 10 championship game. Oklahoma must certainly need at least one of those upsets to occur for at least an opportunity for a playoff berth.
Red River Shootout Part 2
Oklahoma and Texas will meet again for the Big 12 championship game in Arlington. The two teams gave college football arguably the best game of the 2018 season. After coming back from 21 points down in the second half to tie the game, Oklahoma lost in heartbreaking fashion. Cameron Dicker nailed a 40-yard field goal with eight seconds left to give the Longhorns a 48-45 win. How will these two create an encore performance?