STILLWATER, Okla. - After West Virginia University's football team fell for the fourth game in a row, there was tough talk in the Mountaineer locker room.
But there was also this from right offensive guard Jeff Braun:
"We're devastated with four straight losses. This is not the way we [seniors] want to go out."
It was the hurt of being 5-4 after a 5-0 start. The hurt, though, was quickly replaced.
"We need more leaders to step up," Braun said. "We need leaders to take control of the position groups. There's a lot of tradition and pride in this [WVU] program. And we want to show we're not losers."
"We went in the locker room and I told them we played a good team," said WVU coach Dana Holgorsen. "We came into the game knowing it would be tough to stop the [No. 2] offense in the nation. [WVU's players] knew they made plenty of mistakes, so they took the loss pretty hard. We have to move on to next week [Oklahoma at home] and face another tough opponent."
Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said every time WVU "was in reach [of the lead], something happened."
"Routine plays," Dawson said with a shake of his head. "Golly, we had guys wide open, running down the field. You've got to make those plays."
"We're in a very tough [Big 12] league now," said kicker Tyler Bitancurt, who passed Paul Woodside at No. 2 on the school's all-time kick scoring list. (Pat McAfee still leads with 384 points.) "No games are going to be easy. But we have more talent than we've shown.
"It's hard to believe, but unfortunately that's the situation we're in now."
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy seemed pleased after defeating Holgorsen, who served as his offensive coordinator before landing in Morgantown.
"We had a good game," Gundy said. "I think the biggest area of improvement for us is our coverage. Our guys really stepped up and made some good plays. [Kicker-punter] Quinn [Sharp] punted the ball really well. He was good with his flip kicks into the wind.
"We changed up our kickoff return. The offset worked out for us. I thought our special teams were the difference."