NORMAN, Okla. – Another day, another ugly win for Oklahoma.
Gabe Brkic's 30-yard field goal as time expired gave the fourth-ranked Sooners a 16-13 win over West Virginia on Saturday night.
Oklahoma started its final possession at its 8-yard line with 3:39 remaining. Quarterback Spencer Rattler, who was booed by the home fans on several occasions, completed all six of his passes for 54 yards on the final drive to get the Sooners into scoring range. The final possession was 14 plays and 80 yards.
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley was disappointed that the crowd turned on Rattler and gave him credit for his late-game effort.
“I’ll tell you what, it takes a lot of balls to do what we did there at the end," he said. “So people better see that too.”
Rattler passed for 256 yards and a touchdown. Mike Woods caught eight passes for 86 yards for the Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12), who won their third game by seven or fewer points this season.
“We’re happy to be at 4-0," Rattler said. “We’re not happy, we’re not satisfied with the way we’re winning. But a win is a win."
West Virginia (2-2, 0-1), coming off a 27-21 win over then-No. 15 Virginia Tech, was held to 226 total yards.
“That was a tough, physical football game, and I thought we went toe-to-toe with Oklahoma here in their back yard," West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “If you look at it, we had chances. I think absolutely, we had some chances. The game played out in a good way for us, and we just ran out of time.”
West Virginia opened the game with a 17-play, 75-yard drive that took more than nine minutes and ended with a 2-yard Garrett Greene touchdown run.
Oklahoma evened the score on Rattler's 5-yard touchdown pass to Austin Stogner.
After Rattler threw an interception to West Virginia cornerback Jackie Matthews late in the first half, a loud chant of “We want Caleb!” -- referring to backup quarterback Caleb Williams -- rang out.
Rattler said he didn't understand why the crowd responded negatively.
“We kind of just lock in on what we’ve got to lock it on," Rattler said. “I don’t really like -- I don’t care. We don’t care. It doesn’t matter. We’re out here to win a game and they’re in the stands."
Casey Legg's 25-yard field goal as time expired in the first half gave the Mountaineers a 10-7 lead at the break. Oklahoma had just 91 yards of total offense in the first half.
The Sooners moved down the field to open the second half, and a 28-yard field goal by Brkic tied the score. Legg responded with a 21-yarder to put West Virginia back ahead by three.
Brkic's 35-yard field goal with 8:59 remaining tied the score at 13.
West Virginia, aided by a roughing the passer penalty against Oklahoma, moved into scoring range on its next drive. But the Mountaineers lost 21 yards on a bad snap and eventually were forced to punt, setting up Oklahoma's final drive.
The way Oklahoma closed the game offered an example of why Riley hasn't given up on his offense.
“I still have zero doubt about what we’re capable of offensively, but obviously, that’s an area — all areas of the team have got to get better, but an area there that we’ve got to take some big steps, and I know we can," he said.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers nearly pulled off another win over a ranked team, but they were held to 62 yards in the second half.
Oklahoma: The Sooners waited until their final possession to get into an offensive groove, but they did enough to get the win, which in this season of upsets, counts for something.
Oklahoma probably won't drop because Iowa and Penn State, who are just below the Sooners, weren't dominant in their wins. West Virginia missed out on a chance to jump into the Top 25.
Brkic made all three of his field goals for the Sooners. He entered the game having made four field goals of 50 yards or more -- the most ever for an Oklahoma player in an entire season. He now has made 8 of 10 field goals this season. Now, he’s got the dramatic moment to go with it. Oklahoma sports information believes it is the first walk-off game-winning field goal in school history.
“You know, he always comes through for us," Rattler said. “We trust him a lot. And, you know, we set him up to kick the winner and that’s what he did. You know, we’re all confident in him, and he’s a great kicker."
Woods, a transfer from Arkansas, had nine catches for 68 yards in his first three games for the Sooners before his breakout performance Saturday. He had 83 catches for 1,248 yards and 10 touchdown in three seasons with the Razorbacks.
West Virginia: Host Texas Tech next Saturday.
Oklahoma: Visits Kansas State next Saturday. The Wildcats beat the Sooners last season in Norman and defeated Oklahoma in Manhattan, Kansas two years ago.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.
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