Sooners pull out tough victory against West Virginia

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NORMAN, Okla. -- Saturday night couldn't have been further from a frantic, 99-point shootout a year ago between West Virginia and Oklahoma.

A game that had more field goals than touchdowns -- by a count of 3-2 -- turned out to be a 16-7 victory for the 16th-ranked Sooners (2-0) before 84,692 at Oklahoma's Owen Field.

West Virginia (1-1) managed more than 350 total yards, but only one touchdown, coming on a 75-yard run by Dreamius Smith in the first quarter.

The closing minutes of the loss were made even worse with an undetermined injury to senior linebacker Doug Rigg, who went down on a second-down play with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. He remained down on the field, with the entire team circling around him, each on a knee.

Rigg was placed on a backboard, loaded onto a cart and driven out of the stadium where an ambulance was waiting for him. No information was known about the status of his injury at the end of the game.

West Virginia had the ball for the final minute, drove the length of the field, but failed to score to have any hope of a last-second rally.

Holgorsen's desire for balance on offense was apparent, and it showed in the yardage, with 218 of the team's 390 yards coming through the air. The Mountaineers, however, had to fall back on the passing game while playing from behind in the second half, ultimately passing 41 times and rushing 24.

Millard went the distance at quarterback, completing 21 of 41 throws with one interception.

Aside from Rigg, injuries plagued the Mountaineers throughout the game, though many appeared to be cramps from dehydration in the hot, humid weather.

The Sooners started the second half with a deep drive into West Virginia territory, with running back Brennan Clay totaling 60 yards on two consecutive carries. But Mountaineers safety Darwin Cook picked off a pass by freshman quarterback Trevor Knight in the end zone to end the threat.

Still, the Mountaineers couldn't take advantage of the Sooners miscue. After driving to midfield, Paul Millard's pass over the middle was picked off by Gabe Lynn.

Oklahoma marched back down the field again, until the Mountaineers came away with another turnover, when a tipped pass was pulled in by Karl Joseph at the West Virginia 15.

But another promising drive ended when West Virginia receiver Kevin White lost control of the ball at the Oklahoma 15. It was scooped up by defensive back Gabe Lynn and returned to near midfield.

After another fruitless possession, Oklahoma changed quarterbacks, going to junior Blake Bell. He guided the Sooners on a short but crucial drive that ended with a 32-yard Hunnicutt field goal to put the Sooners up, 16-7.

West Virginia came up with takeaways on back-to-back possessions in the first half as well, the second coming when Brandon Golson sacked Knight and jarred the ball loose.

But the Mountaineers went three-and-out after each turnover. Despite a West Virginia punt pinning the Sooners inside their 20 with 4:09 left in the half, Oklahoma was able to drive and get a 21-yard field goal from Mike Hunnicutt with 11 seconds left in the half.

The Mountaineers gift-wrapped a scoring opportunity for Oklahoma when Mario Alford muffed a punt at West Virginia's 32 late in the first quarter. Five plays later, Knight found fullback Trey Millard for a 1-yard touchdown pass and a 10-7 Sooners lead.

West Virginia got on the board first, midway through the opening quarter, when Smith showed that he's more than just a power back. He broke three arm tackles, bouncing outside to the left and outrunning the secondary for a 75-yard touchdown.

Oklahoma moved back down the field on the next series, but the Mountaineers defense stiffened to force a 44-yard field goal by Hunnicutt with 4:22 left in the first quarter.

The Mountaineers will be back in action at noon Saturday, playing host to Georgia State.



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