MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Clint Trickett threw a touchdown pass in his first start at West Virginia, Ishmael Banks returned an interception for a touchdown and the Mountaineers shocked No. 11 Oklahoma State 30-21 on Saturday.
Josh Lambert kicked three field goals for West Virginia (3-2, 1-1 Big 12), which rebounded from its first shutout loss in 11 years to outlast the mistake-prone Cowboys.
Trickett, a transfer from Florida State, became West Virginia’s third starting quarterback after Ford Childress was injured last week. Trickett finished 24 of 50 for 309 yards in his first start since subbing for EJ Manuel for the Seminoles in October 2011.
But after taking a 24-14 halftime lead, West Virginia was held out of the end zone in the second half and relied on its defense to slow down J.W. Walsh, who couldn’t bring the Cowboys back from their first halftime deficit of the season.
Walsh threw three touchdown passes but was intercepted twice.
Banks’ 58-yard interception return in the first quarter was part of 13 points the Mountaineers scored off four Oklahoma State turnovers. That was more turnovers than the Cowboys (3-1, 0-1) had in their first three games combined.
They also were plagued by errant and dropped passes, poor punting and were penalized 10 times for 96 yards.
Oklahoma State, making the 1,000-mile trip to Morgantown for the first time since 1928, got the only touchdown of the second half on Walsh’s 30-yard scoring pass to fullback Jeremy Seaton in blown coverage early in the third quarter.
The Cowboys had the chance to tie it midway through the fourth, but Ben Grogan’s 23-yard field goal try hit the right upright.
It marked the first time in 16 tries this season that Oklahoma State didn’t score a touchdown when it advanced inside the opponents’ 20.
West Virginia had poor field position for much of the second half and needed a spark to keep its lead. It didn’t look good when Trickett left the field for one play after taking a hit early in the fourth quarter, but he returned on the next series.
Trickett eventually threw a pair of 17-yard passes to Ronald Carswell and Jordan Thompson to set up Lambert’s 27-yard field goal with 3:55 left.
Walsh, who finished 20 of 47 for 322 yards, then was intercepted by Darwin Cook and West Virginia took over at the Oklahoma State 36. A personal foul penalty on cornerback Justin Gilbert put the ball at the 7, and Lambert closed the scoring with a 34-yard field goal with 1:28 remaining to close the scoring.
The pace was furious — the teams combined for 177 plays.
Josh Stewart, who scored three times against the Mountaineers last year, had another solid game against West Virginia with seven receptions for 127 yards, including a 73-yard scoring catch in the first quarter.
But Walsh had six consecutive incompletions after that and Oklahoma State was held to two first downs over the next five series, opening the door for West Virginia.
After Banks’ interception return for a score, Trickett found Kevin White with a 17-yard scoring pass on West Virginia’s next series after teammate Ivan McCartney dropped a long pass in the end zone late in the first quarter.
Lambert’s first field goal, a 45-yarder, came after the replay crew overturned a ruling that Oklahoma State’s Jeremy Smith had his knee down before he fumbled.
A pair of solid runs by Walsh set up his 27-yard scoring pass in blown coverage to Tracy Moore midway through the second quarter to trim Oklahoma State’s deficit to 17-14.
A 13-yard punt by Oklahoma State led to a short touchdown drive for West Virginia late in the second quarter, with Trickett’s 40-yard pass to Mario Alford setting up Charles Sims’ 1-yard run.
West Virginia was limited to 9 yards rushing in the first half and 68 for the game.