The play: 2nd and 6 at ISU 48 (9:47 - 2nd) Skyler Howard pass complete to Marcus Simms for 48 yds for a TD, (Mike Molina KICK)
Following a drubbing at the hands of Oklahoma, West Virginia was now out of the Big 12 title race. This is when teams will often lose track of their focus and teams with 10-win destiny become 8-win nobodies. West Virginia was staring obscurity in the face with Iowa State and Baylor plus a bowl game. If they lost to Iowa State and Baylor, they could have been looking at playing in the Cactus Bowl again, or maybe they get shipped all the way out to Houston for the Texas Bowl. Neither of those bowls or locations is appealing to the Mountaineers.
Determined not to fail in their chance to gain 10 wins, West Virginia jumped on Iowa State early. Following an early punt, Iowa State used good field position to gain enough yardage to kick a field goal. The Mountaineers responded with their first of many touchdown drives of the game, fueled by Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Justin Crawford. Six straight runs, five by Crawford, got West Virginia into Iowa State territory. Howard threw a strike to Ka’Raun White and got WVU on the board.
Iowa State fumbled on their next possession and West Virginia used this turnover to throw a deep strike to Shelton Gibson, then pounded the football in with Kennedy McKoy to make it 14-3. Iowa State returned the favor by taking the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. Howard and the offense struggled as both Crawford and McKoy were lost for the day with injuries. Suddenly an Iowa State field goal made it 14-13 midway through the second quarter.
Maurice Fleming broke up a Jacob Park pass in West Virginia territory to turn Iowa State over on downs. Starting around their own 40, WVU used two straight Martell Pettaway runs before Ka’Raun White suffered an injury on a pass from Howard. White tweaked his ankle and would be lost for the rest of the season with a broken bone in his leg. White was interfered with on the play, giving West Virginia a new set of downs.
Dana Holgorsen would run Pettaway again for 4 yards setting up 2nd and 6. This time, Howard dropped back and launched a beautiful pass down the right sideline into the waiting arms of freshman Marcus Simms. Simms ran a beautiful go-route and never gave away the position of the ball. Simms watches the defender who is behind him and the ball and at the last second opens his hands and catches the ball in the endzone. This would be Simms’ only touchdown of the year but it helped highlight why he was such a talent for West Virginia.