Not many people were expecting a lot from Saturday's game between Oklahoma and West Virginia. The Sooners had been playing well since a tough loss against Notre Dame, while the Mountaineers had lost four straight games after opening the season with an explosive offense that led to a 5-0 record.
On a crisp night in Morgantown, West Virginia found its offense in a big way, but the Sooners found just a little bit more, a found it last.
Landry Jones found Kenny Stills on a quick slant for a four-yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds remaining to give the Sooners an incredible 50-49 win over a very explosive West Virginia team.
Even though there were only 21 seconds remaining when the Mountaineers began a last-ditch effort to get into field goal range, there was no sigh of relief on the OU sideline until Geno Smith's Hail Mary pass fell to the turf with 0:00 on the clock.
The reason for the stress was the OU defense, which surrendered a program-record 778 yards to the Mountaineers, including a whopping 458 yards on the ground. WVU wide receiver Tavon Austin was the main benefactor, rushing for an incredible 344 yards and two touchdowns on just 21 carries. Austin also caught four passes for 82 yards and had eight kickoff returns for 146 yards. Altogether, Austin had 572 all-purpose yards, six yards shy of the record set by Emmett White of Utah State in 2000.
Jones was not too shabby in his own right, going 38-for-51 for 554 yards and six touchdowns. Jones hit eight receivers, six of whom had at least 71 yards of offense. Kenny Stills was the go-to guy, catching 10 catches for 91 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winner, and a touchdown with 4:10 remaining to put OU up (briefly) 44-43.
The Sooners opened up with a shaky, but effective scoring drive, converting four third downs, two thanks to West Virginia penalties. The Sooners found the end zone on a four-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Trey Millard.
The Mountaineers offense had shown signs of returning to the high-powered machine from earlier in the season, but Aaron Colvin picked off Geno Smith on West Virginia's first possession, and the Sooners turned that into points thanks to a 32-yard field goal from Michael Hunnicutt.
A WVU field goal moved the score to 10-3 in favor of the Sooners, and each team punted on their ensuing offensive possession. On the next OU possession, Damien Williams coughed up the football, and WVU recovered at the OU 48-yard line.
The Mountaineers drove down for a one-yard Andrew Buie touchdown run, aided by a questionable pass interference call against OU's Tony Jefferson, to tie the score at 10 apiece.
OU responded quickly. On second-and-10 from the West Virginia 24-yard line, Jones hit Jalen Saunders on a simple six-yard curl route in the middle of the field. Saunders then proceeded to break several tackles and outran the defense for a 76-yard touchdown. After a West Virginia punt, Jones quickly moved the Sooners 76 yards in 3:15, the final four yards coming on a touchdown pass to Kenny Stills.
West Virginia wouldn't go quietly. The Mountaineers, thanks to the speediness of wide receiver Tavon Austin, who had 259 of his all-purpose yards in the first half, moved the ball 91 yards in just 1:38, with Smith hitting Stedman Bailey for a 33-yard touchdown pass.
On OU's next possession, the seas parted for Williams, and he burst through the line of scrimmage untouched for a 48-yard touchdown run, making the score 31-17 at the break.
Austin began the second half with a blazing 74-yard touchdown down the OU sideline to cut the OU lead to seven once again. Just like before, the Sooners responded with an 80-yard scoring drive of their own, the majority coming on a 52-yard pass and run by Sterling Shepard. The Sooners scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Stills to go up 38-24.
After the Mountaineers scored to cap a 92-yard drive that took 6:08 off the clock, and cut the lead to 38-30 (they missed the extra point), the Sooners failed to muster a drive, and had to punt. The Mountaineers drove back down the field, but were turned back on fourth down at the OU 15-yard line.
After a Jones interception, WVU went 97 yards on just five plays, scoring on a Bailey touchdown run to cut the score to 38-36 in favor of OU. After an OU punt, West Virginia needed just two plays to go 85 yards for yet another touchdown pass to Bailey, taking its first lead at 43-38.
The Sooners now turn their attention to Bedlam next week in Norman. With Oklahoma State riding a wave of momentum, and a BCS bowl game still on the line for the Sooners, next week's game will have plenty of implications besides the usual rivalry overtones.