Wow. The Sooners' offense was not only productive, it was clutch. Maybe the most clutch game of the Bob Stoops era. But the Sooner defense turned in perhaps the worst game in OU history.
Playing from behind: A. OU never trailed until 7:12 remained in the game. From then on, on his final two possessions of the game, trailing on both of them, Landry Jones completed nine of 10 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
Schemes: D. Mike Stoops lost his chess match with West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. The Mountaineers continually lined up with three split receivers bunched to the short side of the field, then ran the ball to the right side. The OU defense was stretched thin, and scatback Tavon Austin had lots of room to maneuver. Austin had runs of 31, 74, 56 and 54 yards, en route to 344 yards on 21 carries.
Hospitality: A. From The Mountaineer welcoming OU tail-gaters on Friday, to general goodwill around Morgantown on Saturday, to the West Virginia forming the state of Oklahoma and spelling out “OK” inside it (even if it was upside down), the Sooners were well-treated on their first foray into the Mountain State. The OU crowd numbered probably 5,000 and far exceeded the turnout from any other first-time Big 12 visitor. The Mountaineer band also spelled out “XII” to salute its new conference.
Kickoff coverage: A. On a night when the Sooners kicked off plenty of times, West Virginia's dangerous return game was not a factor. The Mountaineers' Austin came into the game leading the Big 12 in kickoff return average, 30.3 yards. But Austin's eight returns netted just 146 yards, and only once did WVU start past its 23-yard line. That one time was just at the Mountaineer 34.
Mining field position: F. Four times West Virginia started drives inside its 10-yard line. All three times, the Mountaineers produced a touchdown drive. They drove 91 yards in six plays in the second quarter, keyed by Geno Smith completions of 41 and 33 yards. They drove 92 yards in 17 plays in the third quarter, converting three third downs and one fourth down. They drove 97 yards on five plays in the fourth quarter, keyed by Smith completions of 35 and 33 yards, and a 24-yard scramble. And they drove 92 yards on three plays late in the fourth quarter, keyed by Austin's 47-yard run and Smith's 40-yard pass to Stedman Bailey. For good measure, WVU also had TD drives of 78 and 85 yards.
Legacy performances: A. Sterling Shepard produced a huge play, a 52-yard catch and run that set up an OU touchdown after West Virginia had drawn within 31-24 early in the third quarter. Shepard took a short pass near the sideline, juked out two defenders and raced down the sideline. It was a play very similar to the huge play that Shepard's dad, Derrick Shepard, produced against OSU in 1983. Derrick Shepard's 73-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown rallied the Sooners from a 20-3 deficit to a 21-20 victory.
Third-and-long: A. The Sooners converted five third downs in which they needed more than five yards to keep the drive alive. Landry Jones completed five of nine passes in such situations.
Atmosphere: B. The Mountaineers put on a good show, but Milan Puskar Stadium had huge patches of empty seats. You can thank Thanksgiving break. The WVU dorms closed down Friday and won't reopen until Nov. 25. Call it a Thanksgiving break, but also deer season opens Monday, and most everything shuts down in West Virginia for deer season, just like in southeastern Oklahoma.
Belldozer: D. The Sooners five times went to their short-yardage specialty. It worked just twice and failed miserably in the final minute, when Blake Bell was stuffed for a yard loss on 3rd-and-2 from the West Virginia 4-yard line.