Hurts powers Sooners past WVU
QB passes for three scores, runs for two in 52-14 Big 12 win
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Jalen Hurts passed for 316 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 75 yards and two more scores and No. 5 Oklahoma cruised to a 52-14 victory over West Virginia on Saturday.
Oklahoma (7-0, 4-0) is unbeaten in eight games against West Virginia (3-4, 1-3) since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 Conference in the 2012 season. The Sooners now have won 20 of their last 21 games.
Oklahoma, which rolled up 562 yards of offense, has scored at least 34 points in 17 straight games, the second-longest such streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision since 1980. The Sooners didn’t score a touchdown in the fourth quarter, though; they’ve now scored a touchdown in every quarter but two this season.
West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall, who spent three seasons at Oklahoma as a backup to Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray before transferring, completed 15 of 31 passes for 182 yards, including touchdowns of 38 and 7 yards to T.J. Simmons.
Hurts, whose transfer from Alabama to Oklahoma led to Kendall’s transfer, completed 16 of 17 passes, with the incompletion a drop by freshman Drake Stoops. Hurts entered the game averaging 398 yards of offense per game, a number that won’t drop much after his 391-yard performance against the Mountaineers.
Oklahoma punted on its first possession but scored touchdowns on its next four — a 20-yard pass to Jeremiah Hall, a 6-yard pass to Charleston Rambo, a 9-yard run by Kennedy Brooks and a 2-yard run by Hurts.
The Mountaineers were within 28-14 at halftime, but Oklahoma scored three touchdowns in the third quarter, the first on a 22-yard run by Hurts and the second on a 46-yard pass to Lee Morris. Brayden Willis then blocked a punt in the end zone that Oklahoma’s Austin Stogner recovered to extend the Sooners’ lead to 49-14. It was the first time that happened to West Virginia since the 2003 season and the third time since the start of last season that Oklahoma had a punt block result in a touchdown.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers are three-fourths of the way through a difficult stretch that includes consecutive games against No. 15 Texas, Iowa State, Oklahoma and No. 18 Baylor. Survive hat gauntlet, and West Virginia can try to secure bowl eligibility during its final four games against Texas Tech, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas Christian.
Oklahoma: The Sooners’ offense continued to roll behind Hurts and the defense mostly held its own, holding the Mountaineers to 51 rushing yards and 242 yards of offense. Those are two things Oklahoma will need to continue to happen to stay in the mix for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
After Oklahoma’s fourth touchdown, the horse-drawn Sooner Schooner came onto Owen Field to celebrate, but it fell over while making a turn, spilling people and debris onto the field.
The horses kept running but quickly were corralled and there were no major injuries to human or horse, even though both riders were thrown from the Schooner. Security officials quickly cleared the debris and play resumed without delay.
After Oklahoma’s fifth touchdown, a cheerleader ran onto the field waving a giant “OU” flag in lieu of the Schooner.
A statement from Oklahoma’s athletic department said officials think the mishap “was the result of weight distribution among riders in the rear of the wagon. Three individuals were evaluated at the stadium and released. All others reported that they were uninjured.”
“Upon initial evaluation, it also appears the ponies are uninjured. Medical staff responded immediately as did the expert horse handlers and veterinarian who staff all games. We are grateful that the injuries were not serious and for the staff members who responded so well.”
11 A.M. BLUES
Oklahoma had its fourth consecutive 11 a.m. kickoff on Saturday and is scheduled for another next week at Kansas State. That didn’t sit well with a segment of Oklahoma fans, which athletic director Joe Castiglione acknowledged in a pair of tweets sent before the game.
“Appreciate our fans adjusting for another 11 a.m. game. Although it’s not always readily apparent, we vigorously push for other times, like we did for our opener,” Castiglione tweeted.
“Obviously, the national TV exposure is important but we also fully understand the impact on you. We will continue to explore ways to better serve you. Go #Sooners.”
Former Oklahoma running back Steve Owens, the 1969 Heisman Trophy winner, was recognized during a halftime ceremony. Owens, who is from Miami, Oklahoma, received a 50th anniversary plaque from Rob Whalen, executive director of the Heisman Trophy Trust. Owens is one of Oklahoma’s seven Heisman winners.
West Virginia: After an off week, will visit Baylor on Oct. 31.
Oklahoma: Will visit Kansas State on Saturday.