With the stunning upsets of Kansas State and Oregon last night, many overlooked the Oklahoma-West Virginia game, one of the most exciting games so far this season. It was a game between two of the most prolific quarterbacks in the country, Oklahoma's Landry Jones and West Virginia's Geno Smith.
Smith was trying to keep the Mountaineers from losing five straight for the first since 2001. That ,however, would be tough against an Oklahoma squad that seems to be improving every week. To remain in the game the Mountaineers would have to score 40+ points and stop Oklahoma at least half of the time. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, they didn't do the latter.
Landry Jones: Jones played the best game of his career against the Mountaineers. He came out of the gates throwing and never looked back. Jones went 38 for 51 for a school record 554 yards and six touchdowns. Not only were his stats unreal, Jones, known for cratering under pressure, was clutch. It seemed every time there was a 3rd and long, Jones would patiently stay in the pocket and find an open wide receiver. When the Sooners were down 44 to 49 with less than three minutes to go, Jones drove his team inside the five yard line. After Blake Bell was stuffed by the WVU defensive line, Oklahoma had a crucial 4th and 3.
Kenny Stills was spread to the left, with three receivers to the right. Stills slanted across the middle and Jones hit him right in the chest for a touchdown. Jones clutch touchdown pass sealed the Sooners 50 to 49 victory, with only 24 seconds remaining.
Oklahoma wide receivers: For Jones to have a performance like he did his receivers had to make big plays, and that didn't seem to be an issue. Kenny Stills had the biggest night, with 10 catches for 91 yards and 4 touchdowns, including the two in the final two drives, including the game-winning catch. Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders led the receiving core in yards, as he caught seven passes for 123 yards and his first career touchdown as a Sooner, which was a 76 yard TD catch and run.
Penn State transfer Justin Brown had another big performance. Brown, the biggest, most physical target caught six passes for 112 yards. Freshman Sterling Shepard caught four passes for 97 yards. Fullback Trey Millard caught Jones' first touchdown, continuing his unbelievable season.
West Virginia RB/WR Tayvon Austin- Austin might have had the greatest statistical game I have ever seen and still lost. Austin broke the Big 12 record for all-purpose yards, and no one saw this coming. Austin had been one of the nations best wide receivers all season long. Austin, however, had not played any running back. This changed on Saturday though, and you could tell Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was not ready.
Multiple times he took the ball on a simple stretch play and no one could touch him. By the end of the game he had carried the ball 21 times for an unbelievable 344 yards, averaging over 16 yards per carry. Austin also managed to snag four catches for 82 yards. Between rushing, receiving and kickoff returns, Austin managed to gain 572 of West Virginia's 778 yards, and somehow the managed to lose.
Oklahoma tackling- Tavon Austin made the Oklahoma defenders look silly Saturday night. On one touchdown run he juked senior defensive backs Aaron Colvin and Demontre Hurst out of their shoes, both are usually sure tacklers. Mike Stoops should be embarrassed by his defense's performance, even if they were not prepared for Austin.
West Virginia pass coverage- Fortunately For Oklahoma, West Virginia's defensive backs were worse than Oklahoma's tackling abilities. The few times they actually had decent coverage, they decided not to tackle the wide receivers. Of course, on other occasions, they simply didn't cover the wide receivers. I will give credit to their rush defense, holding Damien Williams to only 91 yards.
Dana Holgerson- Worse than West Virginia's defense was Dana Holgerson's sideline behavior. If I was West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck I would have a meeting with the university president first thing Monday morning, discussing Holgerson's sideline antics. As the head coach of a BCS program, Holgerson should know what line not to cross.
Holgerson either is ignorant or he's confused on where the line is, because he looked like a complete idiot Saturday night. When his team failed to convert a fourth down Holgerson decided to throw his head set at least three or four times. The worst was the way he treated his players, at one point at the end of the first half Holgerson Screamed to his wide receivers saying something on the lines of "you better (profane word starting with an F and ending with an -ing) run down the field as fast as you can!".