MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia ends its regular season today with an away game at Oklahoma State at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
West Virginia (4-7, 2-6) has a 48-31 loss to 15 nowth-wrestled Kansas State last Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium. second grader Garret Greene earned his first starting quarterback a week after leading WVU to a 23-20 win over Oklahoma — West Virginia’s first win over the Sooners since joining the Big 12 in 2012.
Greene completed 15 of his 27 pass attempts for 204 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a 13-yard score. The Tallahassee, Fla. resident’s 2022 passing tally shows 35 completions in 64 attempts for 445 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions, both of which came in the K-State game.
He rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the Oklahoma win and has now rushed for 1,191 all-purpose yards in 21 games, spending most of his playing time in the last two.
“I think he’s done some really good things and some things he needs to improve on,” said the West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “He needs to get better with his eyes and I think the biggest improvement from last week to this week is that he needs to take the layups. He’s always looking for the big game, and you have to take the easy ones, and we didn’t do well taking some of the easy things Kansas State gave us last week.
This will be Brown’s first time using a mobile quarterback against Oklahoma State’s aggressive pass rush, which has been causing major problems for the Mountaineers in recent games. A strip sack for a touchdown was a major factor in the Cowboys’ 27-13 win over West Virginia at Stillwater two years ago, and last year when OSU got up by two points they were able to flatten their ears and sack Jarrett Doege a total of eight times a day.
In three previous games against OSU, West Virginia has conceded 16 sacks and 33 tackles for losses totaling 170 yards. Oklahoma state pressure numbers are similar this year, as the Cowboys came to opposing quarterbacks 23 times and rallied a total of 79 TFLs for minus 240 yards.
Additionally, OSU defensemen rushed the quarterback 72 times.
“They’re going to push and man-mark and we have to be prepared for that,” said Brown.
The negative yardage plays West Virginia suffered against Oklahoma State contributed significantly to its poor rushing totals against the Cowboys. WVU has averaged just 37 yards per game on the ground, including last year’s feeble 17 yards.
Oklahoma State (7-4, 4-4), which moved as high as No. 7 in the polls after its 41-31 win over Texas Tech, saw its playoff hopes dashed a week later when going 43-4 in two overtime 40 lost at TCU.
During that game, senior quarterback Spencer Sanders was injured and the remaining six games were a rollercoaster ride for the Cowboys. Oklahoma State outplayed Texas 41-34 on the homecoming but lost its next two away games to Kansas State and Kansas by a total of 85-16.
Back at Boone Pickens Stadium, however, OSU defeated Iowa State 20-14 before losing 28-13 in Oklahoma last Saturday.
“They’re also experiencing some adversity in the second half of the season,” Brown observed, “but it’s a group that’s playing a lot better at home.”
OSU is only 1-4 on the road and has won all six home games this year. The Cowboys currently have the sixth-longest active home winning streak with 14 straight wins dating back to the 41-34 overtime loss to Texas on Oct. 31, 2020.
In comparison, West Virginia is only 1-5 in road games this season and has lost its three conference road contests by an average margin of 24.3 points per game.
Here’s today’s countdown to kickoff:
10 – West Virginia ranks TENTH in the nation for punt return defense this week, allowing just 2.71 yards per return.
9 – Casey Legg He missed his first field goal attempt of the season in the loss to Kansas State last Saturday, but he’s still ninth in the country on field goal percentage (92.9%).
8 – The Mountaineers have completed at least 20 passes in EIGHT of 11 games this season.
7 – Oklahoma State currently owns a seven-game winning streak against West Virginia. The Cowboys last lost to the Mountaineers in Stillwater in 2014.
6 – Opponents have passed 250+ yards only SIX times in the last 18 games against the WVU defense.
5 – FIVE West Virginia players have more than 40 games worth of experience before tonight’s finals: Dante Stills (58), Exree Loe (53), SamJames (49), Bryce Ford Wheaton (45) and Jordan Jefferson (41).
4 – seniors SamJames is now FOURTH in the Big 12 for gaining yards at 726. That’s the most he’s had in his five seasons at WVU.
3 – In its last THREE games against Oklahoma State, all losses, West Virginia has allowed 16 sacks and 33 tackles for negative yards.
2 – WVU has TWO of the top five receivers in the Big 12 in receptions per game – No. 2 Bryce Ford Wheaton (5.45) and No. 4 Caden Prather (5.00).
1 – seniors Dante Stillsplaying his final WVU game ranks FIRST in school history in career tackles for losses with 52½.
West Virginia is looking to end its seven-game losing streak against the Cowboys and end the season on a positive note.
“This is our last game,” Brown said. “We don’t like it, but it is what it is. I think this week is about gratitude, and we’re thankful for a lot of different things, including the opportunity to finish on the right grade. This will be the last time this team will be together and we will make it a good week and a fun week for the boys. I fully expect that we will go out and play hard and give ourselves a chance to win.
The Cowboys plan to pre-recognize their 26 senior players.
Tonight’s game begins at 12:00 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally on ESPN2 (Jay Alter and Charles Arbuckle).
Mountaineer Sports Network coverage on stations throughout West Virginia begins with the GoMart Mountaineer Tailgate Show at 9:00 a.m. and leads into regular network coverage at 11:00 a.m. with Tony Caridi, Dwight Wallace and Jed Drenning
Listeners can access the broadcast online at WVUsports.com, the WVU Gameday and The Varsity Network apps, or via satellite radio SiriusXM Channel 135 or Channel 200 on the XM App.