West Virginia football coach Neal Brown did not mince words following WVU’s 27-13 loss to Oklahoma State Saturday.
“Today was not good enough,” Brown said after the loss. “That’s the story of the game, it just wasn’t good enough. Extremely disappointing performance. We were an undisciplined football team today… We talk all the time about WVU not beating WVU. Credit Oklahoma State, [they are] a veteran football team, they’ve won a ton of games like this.”
Heading into the game, WVU (1-1, 0-1 Big 12) upsetting No. 15 Oklahoma State (2-0, 1-0) seemed like a real possibility. OSU was playing without starting quarterback Spencer Sanders and the Cowboys struggled a week ago in a win against Tulsa — 12 WVU penalties for 102 yards and a fumble returned for a touchdown dashed any hope of an upset, however.
“This is what I told our team, ‘before we can win big games, we’ve got to quit losing them’. And this was a big game, let’s not mix it up,” Brown said. “Not pleased with how we performed, not pleased with how we coached, extremely disappointed.”
The Mountaineers were down 20-7 at halftime, but came out and controlled the game in the third quarter. The Mountaineer defense held OSU to 55 yards in the quarter, forcing three punts and one interception. On offense, however, WVU could not capitalize, mustering just one field goal in the third.
“We didn’t handle adversity well in the first half, I was pleased, I thought our kids responded well in the third quarter,” Brown said. “We really dominated that quarter but had very little to show for it, which is frustrating. We’ve got to do better, we’ve got to be able to score touchdowns. It was frustrating that we weren’t able to take advantage of definitely winning that quarter.”
In the fourth quarter, West Virginia kicked one more field goal and Oklahoma State ran more than seven and half minutes off the clock on a drive that ended in a touchdown, resulting in the 27-13 final score.
OSU’s backup quarterback, true freshman Shane Illingworth, completed 15 of 21 pass attempts for 139 yards and an interception. The Cowboys fumbled the ball four times, but recovered all four and committed seven penalties for 65 yards. Brown said Oklahoma State was able to overcome all of that because they are a veteran team with a tradition of winning.
“It was a measuring stick and we didn’t pass this test,” Brown said. “A lot of it has to do with Oklahoma State, they’ve been winning games for a long time so they understand how to win close games, they understand how to make routine plays and not beat themselves and we’re not at that point now. That’s the rude awakening of this game, we are not at that point.”
To end his postgame press conference, Brown said that his team needs to bounce back next week and learn how to deal with adversity.
“So how do we handle the next week? How do we come back after not playing and not competing how we need to compete against one of the top teams in our league?,” Brown asked. “I think we’ve got to regroup and we’ve got to handle adversity and we’ve got to get better. Because…most of these guys are going to be here for three years or more. So this core group that’s playing a lot of football is going to be here for a long time and we’ve got to get better.”
WVU’s next test will come against Baylor. The Bears and Mountaineers will kick off at noon on Oct. 3 from Morgantown. That game will be broadcast on ABC.