STILLWATER — A season that started with great promise for Oklahoma State is in danger of falling apart.
The Cowboys were shut out in the second half of a 34-10 loss to No. 22 West Virginia on Saturday.
It was Oklahoma State’s second consecutive loss after five straight wins. The Cowboys (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) trailed West Virginia 17-10 heading into the fourth quarter, but their offense couldn’t get anything going in the final 15 minutes.
“I’m disappointed for the players,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “We knew that West Virginia was playing good right now. We got down early, came back and had some fight. We just couldn’t get over that hump.”
Daxx Garman passed for 242 yards in Oklahoma State’s second straight poor offensive performance. The Cowboys were held to 258 yards in last weekend’s 42-9 loss to TCU.
“We have a quarterback who’s inexperienced, and we have an offensive line that’s young and inexperienced, and we’re a little bit beat up at times and at places, and we’re just trying to continue to push forward,” Gundy said.
Wendell Smallwood had a career-high 132 yards rushing for West Virginia. Smallwood stepped in for Rushel Shell, who injured a foot during a win over then-No. 4 Baylor last weekend.
Clint Trickett passed for 238 yards and two touchdowns and Mario Alford caught seven passes for a season-high 136 yards for the Mountaineers (6-2, 4-1), who earned their fourth straight win and beat the Cowboys for the second straight year.
West Virginia receiver Kevin White was held to 27 yards on three catches, ending his nation-leading streak of seven straight games with at least 100 yards.
“We said that we were going to go out there and try to be a better athlete than him and try to contain him the best we can,” cornerback Kevin Peterson said. “I think we did that for the most part.”
West Virginia marched down the field on its opening drive, and White’s 19-yard touchdown reception opened the scoring.
On the next drive, Trickett connected with Alford for a 79-yard play to give the Mountaineers a 14-0 lead with 7:49 left in the first quarter. It was the longest pass of Trickett’s career and the longest catch for Alford.
Oklahoma State finally got on the board when Ben Grogan hit a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter.
On the Cowboys’ next drive, Brandon Sheperd went 51 yards on a reverse, setting up Garman’s 8-yard touchdown pass to fullback Teddy Johnson, cutting West Virginia’s lead to 14-10.
Oklahoma State got inside the West Virginia 10 on its next drive, but Garman took a sack on third down, and Grogan missed a 36-yarder.
West Virginia led 14-10 at halftime despite allowing 299 yards before the break. The Mountaineers scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the first half, but punted on their last five.
West Virginia’s Josh Lambert made a 39-yard field goal in the third quarter, and then added a 43-yarder with 10: 14 remaining in the game to make it 20-10. West Virginia’s Dravon Henry returned an interception 52 yards to make it 27-10 with 4:44 remaining.
“I’m excited for our coaches and our players to come to Stillwater and get a victory,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, who was Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator in 2010. “There wasn’t anything easy about it. It was a lot more challenging than what the final score indicated.”
Oklahoma State’s next game is on the road against league leader Kansas State.
“We have a game next Saturday, whether we like it or not,” Gundy said. “We have to rally, stay together as a group, come back tomorrow and go to work.”