MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Clint Trickett wasn't single-handedly responsible for West Virginia's rather stunning 30-21 upset of No. 11 Oklahoma State Saturday afternoon. That should be rather apparent.
West Virginia's defense, after all, was little short of spectacular. A unit that a year ago couldn't stop anyone from doing what they wanted on Saturday stopped one of the Big 12's best offenses from doing almost anything at all that it wanted.
Still, it is hard to ignore the impact Trickett had in his first - and much-awaited - real opportunity to play since transferring from Florida State this summer. And it wasn't just with his passes or his runs or his reads.
It was, as much as anything else, with his attitude.
"He has confidence, I guess,'' said wide receiver Kevin White, the recipient of Trickett's only touchdown pass. "He's out there the whole game laughing and having a good time. It was fun.''
Indeed, while Trickett was far from precise or even efficient at times - coach Dana Holgorsen was infuriated several times by communications breakdowns between the two - he did something that neither of his predecessors, Paul Millard or Ford Childress, were able to do.
He made plays when plays were needed the most.
"Clint did a great job of just keeping plays alive, and that's kind of what we thought he would do,'' Holgorsen said. "He did what we thought he could do.''
Trickett completed 24 of 50 passes for 309 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions as West Virginia, a week after an embarrassing 37-0 loss at Maryland, put together by far its most impressive performance of a season heretofore marked by disappointment and inconsistency.
Starting in place of Childress, who played the last two games but suffered an injury to a pectoral muscle in the loss at Maryland, Trickett was WVU's third starting quarterback in the last four games. His only prior appearance was for two ineffective series in the season opener against William & Mary. He had not played since then.
And again, while he was far from perfect, his attitude seems to have rubbed off.
"That's what Coach Holgorsen preached all week,'' Trickett said. "Let's go have some fun.''
Fun for Trickett apparently means keeping fans on the edges of their seats. He certainly did that for the 57,280 at Mountaineer Field. The native West Virginian - who grew up tossing balls around that same stadium while his father, Rick, coached WVU's offensive line - suffered through more than a few dry spells against Oklahoma State. At one point he threw eight straight incompletions. He tossed the two interceptions, including one on the second series and another deep in OSU territory. He fumbled snaps and was not exactly a running threat.
"I ain't Pat White,'' he laughed. "That's for sure.''
But he was tough and he was opportunistic when it mattered most. He was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter for a play after being thrown to the ground after throwing the ball away in his own end zone. He had to go into the locker room to be evaluated, but missed only one play. He showed up for postgame interviews with a thick ice bag on his throwing shoulder.
"That's part of the game,'' Trickett said. "We harp on 'Team.' And the 'T' is for toughness.''