The real damage was done by Oklahoma's running game. Brennan Clay had 170 yards on 22 carries and Damien Williams added 95 yards on 21 carries. The Sooners had 323 rushing yards and 442 overall.
Still, almost everyone was pleased with the performance of WVU's defense, which gave up just one touchdown and three field goals, despite being on the field for 34:26, compared to 25:34 for Oklahoma's defense.
"I was pleased with how our defense played,'' Holgorsen said. "We got turnovers and we got some of them late in drives. We didn't give up.''
West Virginia gained 387 yards, 218 passing and 169 on the ground.
Almost all the scoring was done in the first half, when OU had a 13-7 lead. The third quarter, because of four turnovers, was scoreless and Oklahoma used an early-fourth-quarter field goal to extend the margin to 16-7. The Sooners had a chance to add a field goal but missed one with a minute to play.
West Virginia had a chance to add a meaningless score at the end when the Mountaineers drove to the Oklahoma 3 and had an untimed down after a roughing the passer penalty. But WVU couldn't score.
Oklahoma outgained West Virginia 228-176 in the half. Each team lost two fumbles and the Mountaineers also had a turnover of sorts when they ran into the OU punter and gave the Sooners the ball back.
West Virginia struck first on one of the rare possessions that did not include some bizarre event. The Mountaineers took over at their own 15 for their second possession and on the third play junior college transfer running back Dreamius Smith broke loose. The 5-foot-11, 217-pounder took a straight handoff into the line, bounced around in the middle of the field and then headed outside. He was able to turn the corner and outran everyone for a 75-yard touchdown and a 7-0 West Virginia lead.
Smith only had two other carries.
That's when things began falling apart for West Virginia thanks to its special teams. First, freshman Daryl Worley ran into Oklahoma punter Jed Barnett after the Mountaineer defense had forced the punt. That led to a 44-yard Mike Hunnicutt field goal that narrowed the gap to 7-3.
The next time Oklahoma got the ball, the Mountaineers again forced a punt, this time a three-and-out. But Mario Alford muffed the punt and OU had the ball back at the West Virginia 32. Three plays later Oklahoma appeared to score on a 16-yard run by Damien Williams, but a review put the ball short of the goal. Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight passed a yard to fullback Trey Millard two plays later for the score and a 10-7 Sooner lead.
After that, the teams started trading turnovers. West Virginia lost the ball when Paul Millard was hit as he was in the pocket and fumbled, his second sack and fumble of the season. But Oklahoma couldn't take advantage because after Lacoltan Bester gained 32 yards on a pass reception, he was stripped of the ball by Isaiah Brice and it was recovered by Darwin Cook.
Oklahoma would later lose the ball after driving to the WVU 25 when linebacker Brandon Golson drilled Knight and caused a fumble that was recovered by Will Clarke.
The Sooners added their final points of the half in the closing seconds after failing to finish a long drive. Hunnicutt capped a 13-play, 83-yard drive with a 22-yard field goal and a 13-7 Oklahoma lead.
Knight completed 9 of 16 passes for 113 yards in the half.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.