Oklahoma football: West Virginia opponents have benefited in awards during losing streak
During the Mountaineers' four-game skid, each opponent has had a player selected as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week
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Breaking down the winners
West Virginia has surrendered an average of 49.5 points per game during its stunning four-game losing streak.
Two days after each of those four losses, an opposing player has earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors.
The award's only recipient over the past five weeks who didn't earn it against West Virginia was Collin Klein on Oct. 29; the Mountaineers had the preceding weekend off.
October 15: Seth Doege, Texas Tech senior quarterback; completed 32 of 42 passes for 499 passing yards and 6 TDs in the Red Raiders' 49-14 rout of the Mountaineers.
October 22: Collin Klein, Kansas State senior quarterback; completed 19 of 21 passes for 323 passing yards, and also ran the ball 12 times for 41 yards. Finished with 7 total TDs in the Wildcats' 55-14 win.
November 5: Josh Boyce, TCU junior receiver; caught 6 passes for 180 yards and 2 TDs, including a 94-yarder, as the Horned Frogs beat West Virginia 39-38 in two overtimes.
November 12: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State sophomore receiver; caught 13 passes for 172 yards and 2 TDs in the Cowboys' 55-34 win in Stillwater.
If an Oklahoma player becomes the fifth consecutive Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week allowed by West Virginia's defense, it's likely to be quarterback Landry Jones or one of his top-four wide receivers.
The Mountaineers have been OK against the run, but rank dead last in pass defense among the 120 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
Here is a look at the five players most likely to be named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week next Monday:
* Landry Jones: The OU senior quarterback hasn't won the conference's player of the week award this year, but has won it six times during his OU career. He's completed 65.2 percent of his passes for 2,691 yards and 18 touchdowns so far this season.
* Jalen Saunders: The junior Fresno State transfer wasn't ruled eligible until mid-October, but has quickly emerged as one of OU's biggest offensive threats. He caught a school-record 8 passes in one quarter against Notre Dame, but has yet to score a touchdown in his five games. Matched up against a weak West Virginia pass defense, Saunders could finally get in the end zone and have a breakout performance.
* Justin Brown: A senior, Brown has caught a touchdown pass in each of the last two weeks, when he's also had his biggest games in terms of receiving yards. The outside receiver has sure hands, is fast and fully capable of shining in his first game near the East coast since transferring from Penn State in August.
* Sterling Shepard: The true freshman has done well in the slot, which is the position from which Josh Stewart gashed West Virginia last weekend. Shepard's biggest performance — by far — came in Week 3 against Kansas State, when he had 108 yards and a touchdown.
* Kenny Stills: The junior has been Jones' favorite target for much of the season, leading the team with 682 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns.
Ditto for Klein, Kansas State's quarterback, after the Heisman front-runner scored seven total touchdowns in the Wildcats' 55-14 win at West Virginia the next week.
October 29 gave West Virginia a break from seeing its opponents honored, but only because it had a bye the previous week.
The next Saturday, West Virginia looked like it might finally end its skid at home; the Mountaineers led TCU by a touchdown with under two minutes remaining — and had the Horned Frogs backed up on their own 6-yard line — before Boyce caught a pass 10 yards behind the nearest West Virginia defender and sprinted for a 94-yard touchdown.
Boyce — who finished with 6 receptions, 180 yards and two touchdowns — added the game winning 2-point conversion in overtime, and two days later was awarded the Big 12's weekly offensive honor.
And finally, there was last weekend in Stillwater. Stewart, an Oklahoma State sophomore slot receiver, caught 13 passes for 172 yards and two scores in Oklahoma State's 55-34 win, and Monday was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week.
“You never know what you're going to get from anybody,” Jones said Monday when asked about West Virginia's defensive struggles.
“You just never know what you're going to get from defenses. You're just going to have to be prepared and ready to play against whoever is going to come out there and what they're going to throw at you.”
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