November 24, 2018 / 5:32 AM / in 22 days

No. 6 OU squeaks by No. 13 West Virginia, into Big 12 title game

EditorsNote: A few minor tweaks

No. 6 Oklahoma’s defense surrendered more than 700 yards Friday but also returned two Will Grier fumbles for touchdowns as the Sooners survived 59-56 against No. 13 West Virginia in Morgantown, W. Va.

Kyler Murray threw for 354 yards and ran for 114 more, as Oklahoma (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) put up 668 total yards to secure a berth in the Big 12 championship game and stay in the College Football Playoff hunt. Murray threw three touchdowns and ran for a fourth.

Next week brings a rematch against Texas for the conference title, but the Sooners will need a while to recover from their wild night at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Kennedy Brooks ran for 182 yards for the Sooners, who improved to 7-0 in the series since West Virginia joined the conference in 2012.

Grier’s 539-yard passing night included four touchdowns, but he lost two fumbles that became defensive scores on returns by linebackers Caleb Kelly and Curtis Bolton.

Gary Jennings Jr. caught seven passes for 225 yards, and David Sills V added eight receptions for 131 for the Mountaineers (8-3, 6-3). Both scored two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to lift WVU into the Big 12 championship game.

The Sooners, who entered the game on pace to set an NCAA single-season record by averaging 8.8 yards per play, averaged 10.3 per snap Friday night.

Oklahoma has won 20 consecutive road games, including nine straight since Lincoln Riley ascended to head coach last year.

Murray helped Oklahoma milk the final four minutes of the game with a fourth-down completion and two runs.

West Virginia outgained Oklahoma 371-366 in the first half, but the Sooners did their damage on only 26 plays, compared to the home team’s 56.

Murray raced 55 yards to score on a keeper and Brooks gashed through for a 68-yard touchdown. Marquise Brown added a 65-yard catch-and-run that set up Trey Sermon’s 1-yard surge.

The Sooners’ often-maligned defense struggled again, but Kelly’s strip-sack of Grier in the second quarter led to a 10-yard scoop-and-score.

Bolton’s 48-yard fumble return came as West Virginia threatened near midfield trailing 52-49.

The three-point margin loomed large considering Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen gambled and failed on fourth-and-6 inside the 10 on a first-quarter drive.

—Field Level Media

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