MORGANTOWN - Clint Trickett waited patiently while two others got the call this season as the starting quarterback at West Virginia. When his time finally came, the Florida State transfer came through.
Trickett threw a touchdown pass in his first start at West Virginia and engineered two late scoring drives, leading the Mountaineers to a 30-21 win over No. 11 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
For all the mistakes West Virginia made in a 37-0 loss at Maryland last week, the Mountaineers (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) seemed to get most of the breaks Saturday.
DIVING IN —West Virginia' Ishmael Banks reaches over the goal line for touchdown after returning an interception 58-yard for the score during the first quarter of Saturday’s 30-21 win over Oklahoma State in Morgantown. Oklahoma's J.W. Walsh defends on the play.
"There has been a bunch of emotions over the past week, embarrassment and disappointment," Holgorsen said. "But they kept working. It was the best week of practice that we have had all year. We felt like we could win, so we went out there and wanted it pretty bad."
Trickett was named West Virginia's third starting quarterback after Ford Childress was injured last week. Trickett was chosen to start over Paul Millard, who started the first two games but lost the job after a 16-7 loss at Oklahoma.
Trickett finished 24 of 50 for 309 yards in his first start since subbing for EJ Manuel for the Seminoles in October 2011.
"When you're the starter, and you know you've got everyone behind you and they're confident in you, that's so big for me," Trickett said.
Trickett said it was tough being passed over as the starter in West Virginia's first four games. He played two series in a backup role and couldn't move the offense in the season opener against William & Mary. He didn't play again until Saturday.
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.
Holgorsen came out on top against Mike Gundy, the Oklahoma State coach whose offense Holgorsen installed when he was the Cowboys' offensive coordinator in 2010. The teams combined for 177 offensive plays.
Yet Holgorsen was proud of one of the better defensive efforts in the three years since he's been at West Virginia.
"Golly, they played well," he said. "They created turnovers. They stuck people. They made plays in key situations. They set up scores."
Cornerback Ishmael Banks' 58-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter was part of 13 points the Mountaineers scored off Oklahoma State's three turnovers - 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.
"There were times when we were functioning and doing fine, and then we'd have a drop or two, then a poor throw and then we'd put the ball on the ground," Gundy said. "Those aren't small mistakes. Those are big mistakes."
Oklahoma State, making the 1,000-mile trip to Morgantown for the first time since 1928, got the only second-half touchdown 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 to his throwing shoulder 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 Josh 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. Lambert also had a field goal in the first quarter.
"It kind of snowballed on us late," Gundy said.