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Penalties Dash West Virginia's Hopes At Upset Of Oklahoma State

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West Virginia shot itself in the foot on Saturday night against Oklahoma State

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In the 33-26 overtime loss to the 21st ranked Cowboys, the Mountaineers lead in most major statistical categories. Most importantly, that included penalties.

West Virginia out-gained Oklahoma State 444 yards to 362 yards on Saturday night at Milan Puskar Stadium in front of a loud blue and gold clad crowd.

256 of the Mountaineers yards came on the ground. 147 of them were recorded by running back Wendell Smallwood.

WVU recorded 26 first downs to Oklahoma State's 19 and had the ball for 31:09 to the cowboys' 28:51.

The deciding factor, however, was the lack of discipline and not taking care of the ball.

The Mountaineers lost three fumbles on Saturday night and were called for 11 penalties for 107 yards.

According to knowhuddle.com, WVU ranks 112th in the nation in first downs allowed by penalties per game. They average giving up 2.60 first downs per game because of penalties in their five games played this season.

The Mountaineers rank dead last in penalty yards per game, averaging 87.40 yards of penalties per game so far this season. WVU's 8.60 penalties per game is good for 112th in the nation.

Not protecting the football has been a major issue so far this season. WVU ranks 106th in the nation averaging 2.20 fumbles a game and 112th in the nation averaging 1.20 lost fumbles a game.

Take away the massive penalty numbers and the three lost fumbles and WVU comes away a winner at home. It's as simple as that.

The Mountaineers now have to go on the road and take on the 2nd ranked Baylor Bears this Saturday and the 3rd ranked Texas Christian University Horned Frogs the following Thursday night. Taking undisciplined penalties (and lots of them) and not protecting the football will cost the Mountaineers even more than ever.