No. 15 Oklahoma beats No. 23 West Virginia 44-24

Posted at 11:09 PM, Oct 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-05 00:09:07-04

Baker Mayfield passed for 320 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 15 Oklahoma defeated No. 23 West Virginia 44-24 Saturday in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Dede Westbrook caught five passes for a 107 yards and Durron Neal had 87 yards receiving for the Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12).

Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker had 13 tackles, including two sacks and three tackles for loss. He forced a fumble in the fourth quarter that Jordan Evans returned 41 yards for a touchdown. Jordan Thomas intercepted two passes for the Sooners.

The Sooners sacked West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard seven times, and he lost two fumbles. West Virginia had committed just two turnovers in its first three games, but had five on Saturday. Wendell Smallwood ran for 111 yards for the Mountaineers (3-1, 0-1).

The chippy contest featured a combined 245 yards in penalties.

The Mountaineers entered the game with the nation's top-ranked scoring defense, surrendering just 7.7 points per game. Mark Andrews' 17-yard touchdown reception from Mayfield with 8:45 left in the first quarter were the first points West Virginia allowed in the first half of a game this season.

Mayfield connected with Sterling Shepard for a 28-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, and Joe Mixon's 25-yard scoring run late in the first half sent the Sooners into the break with a 24-7 lead. Oklahoma scored more points in the first half than West Virginia allowed in its first three games.

The Mountaineers closed the gap in the third quarter. A spectacular touchdown grab by Jovon Durante cut Oklahoma's lead to 24-14. A fumble by Westbrook led to a short Josh Lambert field goal that made it 24-17 midway through the third quarter.

After the Sooners took a 27-17 lead, West Virginia went for it on fourth-and-2, and Howard kept on the read option and strolled 50 yards for a touchdown. Mayfield responded with a 71-yard scoring strike to Neal to put the Sooners up 34-24.

West Virginia tried to keep up, but Striker stripped Howard, and Oklahoma's Evans scooped it up and ran it back for a touchdown to put the Sooners ahead by 17 with just under 10 minutes to play.