Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Another Day, Another Way to Lose Special Teams Gaffes the Difference as Mountaineers Drop 4th in a Row Oklahoma State 55, West Virginia 34

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Another Day, Another Way to Lose Special Teams Gaffes the Difference as Mountaineers Drop 4th in a Row Oklahoma State 55, West Virginia 34

Article excerpt

STILLWATER, Okla. -- West Virgina's struggles manifested in yet another way Saturday, as the team's losing streak reached four games with one special teams gaffe after the next.

The Mountaineers lost, 55-34, to Oklahoma State, as the Cowboys scored 17 points directly off of what coach Dana Holgorsen called "junior high mistakes" on special teams.

And it may cost far more than a single loss.

The hot team with a No. 5 ranking and 5-0 start is now in jeopardy of not becoming bowl eligible after falling to 5-4, 2-4 in the Big 12 Conference, with three games left and needing one more win.

It had been more than a decade -- 2001 -- since the program last lost four in a row.

"We can't make very, very, very simple mistakes, junior high mistakes, and beat a good football team," Holgorsen said. "When you make junior high mistakes, you're not going to win very many games.

"It's really disappointing to see a bunch of guys who try hard. Incredibly deflating."

West Virginia gave up a 96-yard kickoff return in the first quarter, fumbled a punt and a return on a kickoff that led directly to a field goal and a touchdown, then failed to down a punt at the Oklahoma State 1 in the fourth quarter, which resulted in a touchback.

The Cowboys drove 80 yards to score again.

Seven West Virginia players were standing around the ball as it bounced into the end zone.

"It was bad. I understand how bad it was. We took a step forward on some cover teams last week and then took a step back here tonight," Holgorsen said. "The return issues we had are just flat out unacceptable.

"We knew they were going to spray it all over the place. When you hang it up in the wind I understand it's tough, but I don't know how to coach that. The ball comes to you, you get it. ... The ball hits the ground, everybody in the country, starting in junior high, says 'Peter, Peter, Peter, Peter,' get away from the ball. I can't explain that. I have no answers for that. Special teams obviously we flat out gave them 17 points. …

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