Holgorsen irked by calls nixing big WVU plays

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said he couldn’t understand the calls that essentially wiped out two Mountaineers touchdowns Friday night, which proved to be a huge difference in Oklahoma’s 59-56 victory.

“Obviously, I have to be careful with what I say, but I don’t understand, in a game like this, how you take those off the board,” Holgorsen said. “I don’t get it. Like I said, I don’t understand it. Don’t get it, and I never will.”

The first penalty came early in the second quarter, when officials called offensive pass interference on wide receiver David Sills V. Sills crashed into OU defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles, freeing Gary Jennings Jr. for an easy touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone. The call forced a third-and-19, and West Virginia’s drive ended on a fourth-down incompletion.

The second penalty came early in the fourth quarter and proved more controversial: Kennedy McKoy’s 73-yard run was erased when officials flagged wide receiver T.J. Simmons for a personal foul for blocking OU cornerback Tre Brown too deep out of bounds. If not for the flag, McKoy’s run would’ve put the Mountaineers at the Sooners’ 2-yard line.

Two plays later, OU sacked Will Grier and forced him to fumble. Linebacker Curtis Bolton scooped the ball up and ran in 48 yards for a touchdown, giving the Sooners a 59-49 lead.

“Probably the difference in the game,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said of the Sooners’ two defensive touchdowns. “They were critical.”

The latest Big 12 high-scoring affair set multiple FBS season highs. The two teams combined for 1,349 yards, the most in an FBS game this season. The 115 combined points were the most between two Power 5 teams this year, as well.

OU quarterback Kyler Murray added to his late push for the Heisman Trophy, throwing for 364 yards, rushing for 114 and totaling four touchdowns. Grier, meanwhile, became just the third Power 5 quarterback in the last 15 seasons to lose a game with at least 500 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and no interceptions, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Going into Friday, OU was the only FBS team since the debut of the AP poll in 1936 to allow 40 points in three consecutive games and win all three. The Sooners have now done it four times in a row and clinched their berth in the Big 12 championship game next weekend against Texas.

The last time the Red River rivals played twice in a season was 1903, four years before Oklahoma became a state.

“It’s a chance to win a championship,” Riley said. “I understand the rivalry; of course that’s important. But we’ve won three [Big 12 titles] in a row — we want to be the first team in [Big 12] history to make it four in a row.”

Texas won the first meeting against the Sooners on a last-second field goal, 48-45 in Dallas.

Before the championship matchup was even set, the rivalry began heating up again off the field last week, when Texas defensive end Breckyn Hager commented that OU had “no defense” after being told that last-place Kansas had put up 40 points on the Sooners. Hager, who also joked that “OU sucks,” was later publicly reprimanded by the Big 12 and forced to issue an apology.

Asked late Friday about Hager’s comments, Bolton said: “Blows my mind. We hung 50 [45] on them, too.

“If anyone on their defense has anything to say, they can have fun playing Kyler next week.”

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