Unbeaten Oklahoma State will test Mountaineers

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- For two programs meeting for just the fifth time in the last century, West Virginia and Oklahoma State are plenty familiar with each other.

The No. 11 Cowboys (3-0, 0-0 Big 12) will recognize a few faces when they arrive at Milan Puskar Stadium today for a noon kickoff against the Mountaineers (2-2, 0-1). West Virginia special teams coordinator Joe DeForest coached at Oklahoma State from 2001-11. Graduate assistant Andrew McGee was a Cowboys cornerback in 2009-10.

Scouting report

  • Matchup:

    West Virginia (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) vs. No. 11 Oklahoma State (3-0, 0-0), noon today, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, W.Va. The Cowboys are favored by 21.

  • TV, Radio, Internet:

    ESPN, Mountaineer Sports Network, Sirius 85, XM 85.

  • West Virginia:

    QB Clint Trickett will be making his first start as a Mountaineer. ... Turned the ball over six times last week. ... Beat Oklahoma State in 1928 and 1929 but has dropped the past two meetings.

  • Oklahoma State:

    Is the only team in the country to have scored a touchdown on every red-zone trip (15) this season. ... Is No. 10 nationally in scoring offense (45.3 points per game) and No. 17 in scoring defense (13.7 points allowed per game).

  • Hidden stat:

    Oklahoma State has outscored its first three opponents, 108-13, in the first three quarters of games this year.

And, most notably, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen spent the 2010 season as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator and was integral in recruiting standout receiver Josh Stewart and starting quarterback J.W. Walsh to Stillwater, Okla.

Walsh, a sophomore, has averaged 214 passing yards and 60.7 rushing yards per game in Oklahoma State's routs of Mississippi State, Texas-San Antonio and Lamar. The prolific, up-tempo Cowboy offense has scored 45.3 points per game.

"[Walsh] is a winner," Holgorsen said Tuesday. "He falls in the long line of Texas high-school coaches' kids. ... Watching him win games with the intangibles he has, you can see it on the sidelines and in practice.

"You can take guys like that and make their skills better, and obviously they have.

West Virginia will hand the reins to junior quarterback Clint Trickett, who transferred from Florida State this summer. Trickett, the son of former Mountaineers offensive line coach Rick Trickett, is the third starter of the young season, replacing Ford Childress after the redshirt freshman tore a pectoral muscle this week.

Trickett, who made two starts in two seasons with the Seminoles, has taken just six snaps this season, recording a pair of incompletions on his only pass attempts. He will try to jump start a West Virginia offense that was shut out, 37-0, by Maryland last Saturday.

Holgorsen, hoping to give Trickett time in the pocket, said he likely will shift veteran left tackle Quinton Spain to guard, and redshirt freshman lineman Adam Pankey could make his debut after being sidelined with a knee injury since spring.

The Mountaineers have lost both meetings with unbeaten teams this season, falling to Oklahoma (3-0) and Maryland (3-0). A loss Saturday would drop West Virginia to 2-3 and mark the program's worst start in a decade, since Rich Rodriguez and the 2003 Mountaineers started 1-4 before sweeping the final seven games of the season.

The Cowboys won last year's contest 55-34 in Stillwater.

"They're a little bit better, obviously, they're [almost] top-10," redshirt senior nose tackle Shaq Rowell said of Oklahoma State. "Everything they do, they do a little bit better than we do. We've got to work twice as hard as last week."


Stephen J. Nesbitt: snesbitt@post-gazette.com and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt. First Published September 28, 2013 4:00 AM


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