West Virginia closes the season with a narrow 24-19 win over the state of Oklahoma

Playing for little more than pride, West Virginia capped a disappointing 2022 season on high as the Mountaineers struggled through a torrential rainstorm on Saturday afternoon and held off Oklahoma State for a 24-19 win at Boone Pickens Stadium.

The win allows West Virginia (5-7, 3-6) a seven-game sled against the Cowboys, who end the regular season 7-5 after a 5-0 start.

“Streak Busters was kind of a motivation this week and we talked about two things and a good degree says a lot about who you are collectively but more importantly it speaks about who you are as a man,” says WVU head coach Neal said Braun. “Every time you get the chance to dress up and play, it’s part of your resume and you should never waste one of them. Definitely not our boys today. We played extremely hard and physically in the worst possible conditions to play.”

Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders did not play in his team’s last regular season game. Sanders threw for 381 yards in a loss to Oklahoma a week earlier but missed the contest with the Mountaineers that forced true freshman Garret Rangel to field.

“We put together our plan to play Sanders,” Brown said. “We didn’t know [Rangel] wanted to play.”

Rangel struggled for most of the game, catching just 18 of 42 passes for 178 yards. After Casey Legg’s 32-yard field goal gave the Mountaineers a 24-19 lead with 5:59 to play, the Cowboys entered WVU territory with a chance for a late lead.

A costly holding penalty pushed OSU back, forcing them into the first and 20, and four games later, Rangel’s fourth and 3-pass from WVU fell 28 incomplete.

The Mountaineers took over with 1:50 left and needed a first down to retain the win as OSU still had all three timeouts. West Virginia couldn’t win either, as two running games combined for a 2-yard loss and true freshman quarterback Nicco Marchiol’s third and twelve long balls fell incomplete against a single covered Bryce Ford-Wheaton.

Marchiol had taken over for Garrett Greene early in the third quarter after Greene was convulsed from a hit in his head/neck area and failed to return. Brown confirmed after the game that Greene was placed on record with a concussion.

The Mountaineers, forced to punt, avoided major disaster when punter Oliver Straw mishandled the snap, but still managed to box a 28-yard kick that put OSU to 46 with 1:29 minutes remaining.

The Cowboys were unable to advance the ball, however, as Rangel threw four consecutive incomplete passes, the last of which was a checkdown thrown towards traffic jam Ollie Gordon.

“Ollie dropped the last one, which is a good thing for him that he’ll be forgotten because ultimately it didn’t impact the game,” Brown said. “He showed some athleticism to pull it out.”

West Virginia had very little offensive success in the first half and found themselves trailing 10-7 early in the third quarter. On the second draw from second-half scrimmage, Greene ran for 3 yards but came back up clearly shaken and left the game for good.

Marchiol, who was at quarterback for a series in the first half, took over.

Immediately facing fourth and first on their 29-yard line, the Mountaineers decided to give it a try, with Jaylen Anderson navigating his way in a traffic jam for 2 hard yards.

Marchiol found Sam James with a 15-yard pass in the next game before Anderson broke free for a 54-yard rushing touchdown, allowing the Mountaineers to lead 14-10 on the first TD of his career, just 2:15 in the second half .

After forcing a punt, West Virginia quickly struck for its third and final touchdown of the contest, thanks to Anderson’s 57-yard rush that led the Mountaineers 21-10 at the 9:53 mark of the third.

“He’s arrived and he has a bright future,” Brown said. “He needs to continue to mature but he has shown some real signs. He has a patient running style but he broke two big ones.”

The Cowboys responded with Tanner Brown’s 38-yard field goal and after WVU backwater Tony Mathis was stopped at the line of scrimmage in fourth and 1 just short of midfield, OSU took over with good field position and 2:16 in third Place. quarter o’clock.

Six games later, Gordon broke for a 23-yard touchdown run that left the Cowboys 21-19. They opted for two and the tie, but Rangel’s pass was incomplete.

OSU got the ball back, two down, but Rangel fumbled on a exchange that Dante Stills recaptured, allowing WVU to play the Cowboys ’49 by 14:08.

The teams then traded three-and-outs before West Virginia used eight running games to go 44 yards, setting up Legg’s field goal. That drive included 24 rushing yards from Marchiol and 20 more from Anderson.

“Garrett is really fast and probably elusive, but Nicco can run,” Brown said. “He’s going well and he’s strong. He’s 225 pounds more or less as Thanksgiving has gone. He has a really strong lower body and you saw that today. He was really close to breaking two when we hit the field goal.”

Greene’s 36-yard touchdown streak on a quarterback draw was the only game in West Virginia’s second series and gave the Mountaineers a 7-0 lead that went through the first quarter.

But after Oklahoma State ran into each of its first four possessions, the Cowboys finished the first quarter on West Virginia’s 4, and Brennan Presley scored on a well-considered run from that distance to start the second quarter, leaving OSU could draw level with 7 .

Later in the quarter, Greene was intercepted on a poorly thrown pass by Jason Taylor II, allowing the Cowboys to start at WVU 33.

OSU moved into WVU 10, but Deondre Jackson was stopped fourth and one by Exree Loe with no win.

Still, the Cowboys put together a 73-yard drive when they got the ball back that included their longest play of the game — Rangel’s 43-yard pass to Braydon Johnson — and just before halftime to Brown’s 22-yard field goal led which gave the home team their first lead with 10-7.

On the 43-yard play, Johnson did most of the damage after the catch, thanks in large part to WVU cornerback Malachi Ruffin, who celebrated what he felt was an incompletion.

“I can’t explain that. I wish I could,” Brown said. “I know he made two nice deep ball plays on that last drive, but I can’t explain the inexplicable.”

West Virginia threw just 77 yards in the win, 48 of which came from Greene, who caught 8 of 14 passes. Marchiol had the other 29 yards and only completed 2 of 9 attempts.

Anderson ran for 155 of West Virginia’s 250 yards using just 15 carries. Greene and Marchiol added 47 and 32 rushing yards, respectively.

“He managed the game and it’s pouring rain and we’re playing on national television in the street in his first big action,” Brown said of Marchiol. “He wasn’t ready earlier this year. He really wasn’t, and you couldn’t really tell that until the last three or four weeks of training. It’s a credit to what we’re doing from a developmental standpoint of the reps he’s getting. He gets about 60 or 70 live reps a week where he has to do pieces. He’s gotten better. He showed real maturity today when he came in and won the football game.

Gordon rushed for 136 yards on 17 tries while Jackson gained 56 yards on 12 carries.

Rangel was sacked four times, all in the first half.

WVU linebacker Lee Kpogba, who led all players with 13 tackles, was credited with 1.5 sacks.

“Defensively it was just gritty,” Brown said.

The result put the Cowboys on a 14-game home winning streak.

“There have been a lot of good football teams that have come here and didn’t make it,” Brown said. “We were the team that made it. I’m proud of our staff and our players. Not only does it say a lot about the players, it also says a lot about the staff in the closet. It wasn’t the year we wanted. It’s not really the time to think. We’ll do something to think about it and talk about it in the postseason, but today is about that win and taking to the streets for it. We persevered.”