NORMAN – About the only thing that went wrong on a beautiful fall Saturday in Norman was a Sooner Schooner rollover, as the Sooners rolled West Virginia, 52-14. Fortunately, no persons or ponies were hurt, although the field got rutted up a bit, and the Schooner itself, despite having come apart in the crash, rolled out of the stadium later in one piece. A Schooner accident rate of one every 26 years isn’t bad, I suppose. The last time that happened, Cale Gundy got concussed in a loss to Colorado, and the damage to the horrible turf field we had then was repaired, quite literally, with duct tape.
Jalen Hurts had a spectacular day, going 16 of 17 for 316 yard and three TDs, plus 75 yards rushing and a pair of TDs on the ground. On top of that, the one incompletion Hurts threw on the day was a drop that hit the receiver right in the hands.
Kennedy Brooks was the Sooners’ second-leading rusher behind Hurts, with 70 yards and a score on 10 carries. Charleston Rambo had 71 yards and a score on four catches, while CeeDee Lamb had 71 on three catches. Lee Morris had two catches for 57 yards and his first score of the season, while Brooks added a pair of catches for 28 yards.
The Sooners won the toss and deferred. The Mountaineers started off well enough, busting off little flip passes to receivers in jet motion for 11 and 16 yards on the first two plays. They tried the same play a third time in a row, and it was stuffed for a five-yard loss. Two plays later, WVU was punting.
After an exchange of punts, the Sooners embarked on their first scoring drive of the day. Hurts ran for seven yards, then passed to Brooks for four and a first down. Two plays later, Hurts hit Lamb for 15 yards. Brooks ran for nine, 10, and two, leaving the Sooners with second and eight from the WVU 20. Hurts then dropped back, rolled right, looked like he was going to run, then found a wide-open Hall in the back of the end zone for a TD and a 7-0 lead with 4:32 to play in the first quarter.
After a WVU three-and-out, the Sooners struck quickly. Beginning from the OU 26, Hurts hit Lamb for 31 yards, then ran for 28 himself and a first down at the WVU 15. Hurts then connected with Rambo for nine yards to the WVU six. On the next play, Hurts found Rambo on a slant in the end zone, and the Sooners led 14-0 with 2:05 to play in the first quarter.
The Sooners looked to have held WVU to another three-and-out on the ensuing possession. However, after Lincoln Riley took a time out with one second left in the first quarter to force WVU to punt into the wind, the Mountaineers faked the punt and picked up a first down. WVU would eventually face a fourth and six at the Sooner 38, from where former OU QB Austin Kendall hit T.J. Simmons for a 38-yard catch-and-run score to make it 14-7 with 11:57 to play in the first half.
The Sooners would answer on the next possession. Beginning at their own 25, the Sooners quickly moved into Mountaineer territory on a 13-yard pass from Hurts to Nick Basquine and a 14-yard Hurts run. On the next play, Hurts hit Brooks on a short pass that Brooks took the distance, but the score was called back by a questionable block in the back call. Still, the Sooners had a first down at the WVU 34. Hurts then hit Haselwood for 13 yards, then Brooks ran for eight to the WVU 13. Two plays later, Brooks took it in from the nine, and the Sooners led 21-7 with 9:08 to play in the first half.
After a WVU three-and-out, OU struck quickly again, taking over on their own 43. Hurts hit Rambo for 30, then hit Lamb for 25, and it was first and goal at the WVU two. On the next play, Hurts rolled right, looking to pass, then avoided a single WVU defender and cut back to the middle of the field and scored easily, making it 28-7 with 6:31 to play in the first half. The teams would exchange punts, then WVU added a touchdown with 20 seconds to play to make it 28-14 at the half.
The Sooners would blow it open in the third quarter. A six-play, 75-yard TD drive to open the second half was keyed by a 26-yard pass from Hurts to Rambo and Hurts’ 22-yard scramble for an easy TD. The Sooners led 35-14 with 12:51 to play in the third quarter,
WVU picked up one first down on the ensuing possession, but a short punt gave OU excellent field position at their own 45. Lamb carried the ball for nine yards on first down, then Hurts threw a gorgeous pass to Morris down the left side for a 46-yard TD that made it 42-14 with 9:01 to play in the third quarter.
WVU muffed a fair catch on the kickoff, resulting in their next possession beginning on their own two-yard line. They wen three-and-out, then Brayden Willis came through and blocked the WVU punt, which Austin Stogner then recovered in the end zone. That made it 49-14 with 6:51 to play in the third quarter. The Sooners would add a field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter to forge the final score of 52-14.
The Sooners travel to Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday for their fifth straight 11:00 a.m. kickoff. The following week is open, with Iowa State coming to Norman on November 9. See you in the Little Apple.