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Lucky 13: Mountaineer-Sooner Football History

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Stormin’ into Norman won’t be as easy as some hopeful Mountaineer fans are crossing their fingers for. WVU football’s Week 4 match-up with the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners won’t be a walk in the park on any side of the ball, but then again, this Mountaineer team has never had an easy time with HC Lincoln Riley’s team.

The origin of this now-conference contest dates back to 1958, when WVU football played in the Southern Conference. The No. 13 Mountaineers, guided by head coach Art Lewis and quarterback Dick Longfellow, fell to the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners in Norman, Ok. 47-14. That beating hasn’t lessened as the years have progressed, but run-ins with the Sooners have meant more recently. Between the inaugural game in 1958 and WVU’s first season in the Big 12 Conference in 2012, these two teams have clashed three additional times. WVU’s sole regular season victory in that span was a 1982 road win that ended 41-27 to mark the first win of the series. It remains the only win for this WVU team at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

It then took more than two decades for the teams to meet once again. This time: the 2008 Fiesta Bowl. The Mountaineers took full advantage of the No. 3 Sooner team in a neutral site, besting them 48-28 to close the season 11-2 under interim head coach Bill Stewart. Thus, the “Leave No Doubt” speech was born. Chills.

When WVU joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012, the Oklahoma Sooners rivalry became a regular occurrence. 2012 ushered in the series’ first fewer than one score finish. Oklahoma won by a single point 50-49 in Morgantown. This still stands as the closest Mountaineer loss in series history. After that, the spread grew quickly, much to the Mountaineer faithful’s chagrin.

2013 found WVU back in Norman. This Mountaineer staff, lead by second-year head coach Dana Holgorsen and quarterback Clint Trickett, fell to the Sooners in a hard-fought 16-7 score. Holgorsen’s record against the Sooners fell to 0-2, and it wouldn’t get the chance to improve.

2014 was rough on the Mountaineers’ home record, going .500 at Milan Puskar Stadium, including Week 4. After spending Week 4 dealing the Mountaineers a 45-33 loss in Morgantown, that Sooner team, lead by legendary head coach Bob Stoops, finished its season 8-5 to the Mountaineers’ 7-6.

In 2015, Stoops’ Oklahoma roster began conference domination. The Mountaineers traveled to Norman and lost to No. 15 Oklahoma 44-24. Those 44 points are the lowest score the Mountaineers have held the Sooners to since then. Oklahoma would go on to finish the season 11-2 and capture its first Big 12 Conference Championship, beginning a six-year streak.

Between 2016 and 2018, the Sooners outscored the Mountaineers 174- 115, dealing WVU one road loss and two at Milan Puskar Stadium. Recent Mountaineer fans will remember the Snowmaggedon game in 2016, when a No. 10 WVU got into a pre-game scrum with the No. 8 Sooners, who then trounced through Week 10’s frigid November conditions to beat the Mountaineers 58-28 and later collect its second consecutive Big 12 Conference Championship.

The 2017 Mountaineers were taken down once more by the No. 4 Sooners to the tune of a 59-31 loss in Norman. Although the WVU defense held fifth year quarterback Baker Mayfield’s Sooner offense to zero fourth quarter points, it wasn’t enough to secure a victory. WVU moved to 1-5 at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, while Oklahoma finished its third consecutive season by hoisting the Big 12 Conference trophy.

The 2018 Mountaineer staff, lead by Holgorsen and quarterback Will Grier, hosted a shoot-out in Morgantown. The No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners came to Milan Puskar Stadium on WVU’s Senior Day and were nearly bested after the game’s first drive resulted in a WVU Grier to David Sills 41-yard touchdown pass. The lead changed five different times throughout the game, but the Sooners pulled out the win on the back of a more-than-two-touchdown average per quarter. While WVU was getting defeated in the Camping World Bowl 34-18 to Syracuse, the Sooners were busy winning the program’s fourth consecutive conference championship.

2019 proved to be the most recent meeting of the Mountaineers. Then No. 5 Oklahoma welcomed West Virginia to Norman for the latest iteration of the match-up. The Mountaineers were held to three scoreless quarters as the Sooners pounded into the end zone seven times (including a WVU blocked punt that was recovered for a touchdown) and added a fourth quarter field goal to win 52-14 on Oct. 19, 2019. The No. 5 Sooners remained the reigning Big 12 Conference Champions, and, now up a spot this season to No. 4, welcome the Mountaineers back to Norman tomorrow at 7:30 p.m on ABC.

This 13th meeting of the two teams will pit a 2-1 Mountaineer roster against an undefeated Sooner team lead by its fourth straight Heisman Trophy-contending quarterback, Spencer Rattler. The redshirt sophomore quarterback has not reproduced last season’s stats, and that lacking offense may be just what the Mountaineers need to secure a third series victory and break Neal Brown’s 0-5 road game streak.

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