Chuba Hubbard scored on a 23-yard run with 1:17 remaining to rescue a horrid day for the Cowboys running back at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Hubbard fumbled on consecutive second-half possessions and was on the sidelines for some key plays in the fourth quarter, but finished with 101 yards on 22 carries. His backup, LD Brown, stepped up with 103 yards on 11 rushes, including a 66-yard score on his first touch of the game for OSU (2-0, 1-0 Big 12).
It’s the first time since 2016 that the Cowboys have won their Big 12 opener.
True freshman quarterback Shane Illingworth was 15 of 21 for 139 yards, but threw one interception in his first start. The former four-star recruit from Norco, California replaced starter Spencer Sanders, who exited the Cowboys’ season-opening 16-7 win against Tulsa last week with a right ankle sprain. OSU coach Mike Gundy said Sanders was available, if needed, but the redshirt sophomore’s mobility was limited.
Amen Ogbongbemiga led OSU’s defense with 13 total tackles, including eight solo and one tackle for loss. He also had a sack and one quarterback hurry. Calvin Bundage had a team-high three tackles for loss and two sacks.
Jarrett Doege threw for 285 yards and a touchdown for WVU (1-1, 0-1), who lost its sixth straight against OSU dating back to 2014. Winston Wright was Doege’s main target with four catches for 103 yards, including a 70-yard score on a slant route from the slot in the second quarter. WVU did itself no favors with 106 yards on 12 flags.
Brown dashed his way to the endzone on a 66-yard run for a 7-0 OSU lead at 13:43 of the second quarter. Brown celebrated in style as he paid tribute to OSU all-time leading rusher Thurman Thomas with his touchdown dance. Thomas was later honored at halftime as the inaugural member of OSU’s ring of honor.
Doege then started to drive the Mountaineers down the field until Trace Ford forced a fumble by hitting Doege’s arm while he was about to pass, and Tyren Irby scooped up the loose ball and raced 56 yards to make it 14-0.
Doege again had WVU marching down the field on the next drive before another turnover, this time a fumble from Graeson Malashevich. OSU didn’t capitalized and settled for a 40-yard field goal from Alex Hale.
Doege found Wright on a short slant pass and the wide receiver did the rest for a 70-yard score to cut OSU’s deficit to 17-7 at 3:48. Hale made it 20-7 with a 44-yarder with three seconds remaining in the first half to improve to 5-for-5 this season.
Tony Fields picked off Illingworth and returned it 22 yards to OSU’s 42 to help set up Evan Staley’s 26-yarder to make it 20-10. OSU’s defense had kept Doege from completing a pass until his 19-yard strike to T.J. Simmons on this drive.
Staley added a 30-yarder at 9:01 of the fourth to make it a one-possession game, 20-13 OSU.
The Cowboys offense finally put together a drive on its final possession, but it almost didn’t happen. Facing a third-and-3, OSU turned to Brown to extend the drive with a 4-yard run then Illingworth found Tylan Wallace — who had 73 yards on six catches — on a 14-yard pass at the far sideline. Brown again kept the drive alive with a 18-yard run on third-and-9 before Hubbard cut his way through WVU’s defense for a score.
OSU will play its first road game of the season next Saturday against Kansas at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence.