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Mountaineers Hang On to Knock off No. 22 Iowa State in Thriller

The West Virginia football team was able to edge out No. 22 Iowa State on Halloween weekend, in Morgantown and fend off a late offensive attack to win, 38-31.

The result of the game came all the way down to the final play of the day as Charles Woods was able to break up a last second hail mary attempt by Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy at the end zone from 30 yards out.  

Perhaps the play of the day was when Exree Loe stepped up to poke out a ball carried by Iowa State RB Breece Hall at the West Virginia two-yard line for the Mountaineers touchback and fumble recovery with five minutes left in regulation.

It didn’t take very long for Iowa State to get on the board against the West Virginia defense as on the third Cyclones play of the day, Hall rushed from the 30 yard-line for a 70-yard touchdown rush and the 7-0 advantage.

The scoring play came after the Mountaineers were forced to punt following a failed to convert third down on a Leddie Brown one-yard rush. Brown made up for his failed third down conversion the very next West Virginia drive, rushing for a 14-yard first down as well as sticking the ball into the end zone from two yards out for the knotted 7-7 score.

The West Virginia defense didn’t prove much in the first quarter as the unit allowed a couple 60+ yard touchdown scores to Iowa State in the form of both passing and rushing. The third Iowa State drive of the day saw Brock Purdy find a wide open Tarique Milton down the right sideline for a 68-yard score and the 14-7 advantage.

The Mountaineers proceeded to put together another four-minute scoring drive before the second quarter while converting four first downs and knotting the score yet again on a Doege to Bryce Ford-Wheaton 20-yard touchdown strike.

Following a big time Josh Chandler-Semedo sack on Purdy for a loss of 10 yards, West Virginia was able to piece together another scoring drive beginning with a Tony Mathis 14-yard rush. The drive resulted with a Casey Legg 31-yard field goal to put his Mountaineers ahead by three, 17-14.

After a rough go of it for the West Virginia defensive unit in the first quarter, the defense seemed to step it up a notch in the second quarter beginning with the Chandler-Semedo sack on Purdy. Taijh Alston also had a nice third down stop on Purdy who had to throw the ball away on a hurried play.

The Mountaineers were then able to force the Cyclones into fourth down situations the next two drives of the quarter. That came even after Doege threw up an interception in the middle of the field intended for Ford-Wheaton with five minutes remaining before halftime.

The Cyclones were able to knot the game at 17-17 right before halftime as Andrew Mevis booted a 34-yard field goal following some first down connections between Purdy and his receiving corps.

The second half began for West Virginia with Doege tossing another interception, this time in the middle of the field to Jake Hummel on a pick six which was intended for Brown near the Mountaineer 24-yard line.

After the Iowa State defensive score, Doege marched his troops 75 yards down the field before a strike to Ford-Wheaton in the back of the end zone for 23 yards knotted the score again, this time at 24-24. The drive also included a 35-yard haul in between Doege and Wright Jr. to move the ball to the 23-yard line.

The ensuing Iowa State drive featured another big Hall rush for 53 yards which set up a quarterback keeper designed run for Purdy to walk into the end zone from a yard out and give his Cyclones the lead, 31-24.

The longest drive of the day which lasted six minutes ended at the start of the fourth quarter on a Doege to Wright Jr. 22-yard touchdown bullet. The score came after a solid nine-yard completion between Doege and TJ Banks to move the ball to the Iowa State 29-yard line and the score knotted the game at 31 points all.

The next West Virginia offensive drive saw the team take the lead for good six minutes into the fourth quarter on a Leddie Brown two-yard rush. The big play that set up the score was a Doege to Ford-Wheaton 45-yard completion down the left sideline.

The Mountaineers will be back in action in Morgantown next weekend when the team hosts another ranked Big 12 opponent in No. 15 Oklahoma State on Nov. 6.

(Top Photo: Ethan Bock)

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