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No. 11 OSU Stunned At West Virginia

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MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -

It was an exercise in Murphy's law for Oklahoma State in Morgantown.

Abhorrent special teams execution, an anemic run game, three turnovers, an ejection, 94 penalty yards and a 42.5 percent completion rate through the air. Whatever could go wrong truly did for the No. 11 Cowboys on Saturday in an improbable 30-21 upset loss at West Virginia.

The Pokes struck first to take a 7-0 lead on an impressive, acrobatic 73-yard touchdown reception by Josh Stewart on a shallow slant, marking the Cowboys' longest play of the season.

On the ensuing possession, OSU corner Justin Gilbert snared a leaping interception and things looked to be on the way to a blowout in the early going. But it was not to be.

J.W. Walsh quickly threw an interception of his own on the second play of the drive, which was returned for a 58-yard touchdown by Ishmael Banks to knot the game up at 7-all with 6:53 remaining in the first quarter.

OSU would never lead again.

The pick-six was just the first in a long list of miscues that proved to be the Cowboys' undoing against the Mountaineers. And that is not at all how things were expected to go.

WVU entered the game having committed the second-most turnovers in the country with 12 through its first four games and the Cowboys ranked second best with just one so far in 2013. But the roles were reversed at Mountaineer Field. When push came to shove, it was OSU that routinely shot itself in the foot.

The Mountaineers took a 14-7 lead after a 16-yard punt by Kip Smith gave WVU the ball at their own 30-yard line and a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty two plays later moved the Mountaineers into Cowboy territory at the 40. First-time starter Clint Trickett then found Kevin White for a 17-yard strike down the middle of the field for a 14-7 advantage, which ended up being the score at the end of the first quarter.

OSU appeared to have a chance to build momentum early in the second after Walsh connected with Stewart for a 17-yard gain but Jeremy Smith fumbled on the next play to give WVU great field position at the OSU 29, resulting in a 45-yard field goal and a 17-7 deficit.

But, much to the Cowboys' credit, they quickly fired back with an eight-play, 76-yard scoring drive capped by a 27-yard touchdown grab by Tracy Moore.

But whenever Oklahoma State made something happen, West Virginia had an answer. And fortunately for the Mountaineers, OSU didn't do much in the "making things happen" department from that point forward.

The miscues just continued to pile up as an abysmal 13-yard punt resulted in a short-field TD for WVU and a missed 45-yard field goal failed to close the gap as the Pokes went into the locker room trailing 24-14.

The early part of the third quarter gave the illusion of a comeback when OSU forced a quick three-and-out and pounced on a sleepy WVU defense for a quick 30-yard TD pass to backup fullback Jeremy Seaton up the middle of the field to cap a four-play, 58-yard drive that took just 1:22 off the clock.

But OSU was unable to build any momentum off the drive, punting on their next four possessions. The fifth possession, however, proved to be the most damaging.

Trailing by just a field goal, Oklahoma State had a first-and-goal from the 3-yard line following a personal foul.

The next four plays represented this game in a nutshell.

Jeremy Smith ran two yard to the 1. Walsh overthrew a questionable fade call to Moore. Smith got swung down for a loss of five. And on fourth-and-goal from the 6, freshman Ben Grogan missed a chip-shot 23-yarder to tie with 12 minutes remaining in the game.

OSU never threatened to score again and a pair of Josh Lambert field goals on consecutive possessions put the game out of reach.

There is sure to be a lot of finger pointing after this game and there is likely a lot of legitimacy behind the vast majority of accusations.

It was a poorly played game by the Cowboys in all facets as West Virginia made the most of its opportunities to bounce back from its first shutout loss in 11 years to beat No. 11 OSU.

In addition to a bevy of special teams errors, the Cowboys committed 10 penalties resulting in 94 yards. The worst of which was a punch by Gilbert that resulted in his ejection and put WVU in position for its final field goal to put the game away.

The run game also failed miserably for OSU on Saturday. Smith has struggled to hit holes this season and has spent too much time dancing and the West Virginia game was the most glaring example yet.

Smith carried the ball 15 times for just one yard and was held out of the end zone for the first time in 12 games.

As a result, the Cowboys lost their fourth-straight Big 12 road game and their fifth out of their past six since the 2011 upset loss at Iowa State ended an eight-game winning streak in Big 12 road trips.

OSU will need to bounce back quickly as the Pokes host defending Big 12 champion Kansas State at Boone Pickens Stadium next Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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