"In the locker room at halftime, we were determined to go out and make a run and then all of a sudden, to make just a silly mistake and give them seven points is incredibly deflating," said Holgorsen, the Cowboys offensive coordinator in 2010.
WVU recovered and first-and-goal, but ended up taking a holding penalty on Quinton Spain and then a four-yard loss when Smith and running back Andrew Buie bumped into one another on a handoff and Buie fell. Tyler Bitancurt made a 37-yard field goal.
Chelf's pass slipped through a receiver's hands on the next drive and WVU linebacker Terence Garvin intercepted it and returned it 41 yards to the OSU 1. Smith scored on a sneak on the next play to make it 38-34.
The Cowboys answered and used the pass to get a first down at the WVU 12, but ended up kicking a 32-yard field goal to take a 41-34 lead.
The Mountaineers were actually fortunate to be down just 31-17 at the half given the low moments from the first two quarters. The offense botched a jet sweep to Austin on the first play from scrimmage and then a handoff to Buie on the second.
The punt traveled 55 yards, but the Cowboys needed five plays to go 78 yards and take the lead for good. Stewart ran 46 yards to score on a reverse.
Smith missed the deep pass to Bailey where Bailey was open behind his cornerback and would have scored had Smith thrown an accurate pass. WVU had a third-and-2, but Buie ran into his offensive line four yards deep in the backfield.
The Cowboys punted and on WVU's third-and-3, Smith threw behind running back Dustin Garrison on a swing pass. Garrison had room and a chance to do something if the throw led him. He instead battled to gain just yard.
To make matters worse, the Mountaineers managed a delay of game penalty before the punt. Stewart scored again on a 21-yard play when he was open in the middle of the field.
"We made junior high mistakes," Holgorsen said. "When you make junior high mistakes, you're not going to win very many games."
WVU finally got a break, but in the most unlikely scenario. A false start set up second-and-15 and Smith scrambled for seven yards on a busted play, but was sacked on third down. He lost five yards, as well as his helmet, and had to come off the field. Backup Paul Millard entered on fourth-and-13 at the OSU 37 and actually threw a touchdown pass to Bailey to make it 14-7.
OSU's Justin Gilbert returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, the school-record fifth of his career.
WVU spent 16 plays getting down to the OSU 2, but on fourth-and-goal the familiar run to the right behind the big formation was stopped and Shawne Alston couldn't score. The Cowboys punted and WVU made it 21-14, first converting fourth-and-5 with a pass to Austin and then with Austin scoring on a 17-yard catch-and-run on third-and-10.
A squib kick to keep the ball away from Gilbert was returned to the OSU 41 and the Cowboys scored three plays later when tight end Blake Jackson got behind the defense for a 48-yard touchdown. The Cowboys dribbled their kick and it took a high bounce. Buie turned around to look back at Austin and Bailey, but the ball hit Buie's helmet and then rolled around with players from both teams before the Cowboys recovered at the 14.
WVU's defense forced a 26-yard field goal before OSU had a special teams error. Austin returned the kickoff 20 yards, but the Cowboys committed a personal foul during and then after the play and WVU had the ball at OSU's 39 and settled for Tyler Bitancurt's 41-yard field goal.
Holgorsen said WVU went into halftime thinking it should have been in the lead.
"We work on handoffs every single day. We work on fielding punts and kicks every single day. We work on communicating every single day," Holgorsen said. "When you get into an environment like this, you've got to be mentally tough enough to execute the way you've been doing for a long, long time. We've been saying this and we're clearly not getting through to our players that you need to go out there, play at a high level and not make junior high mistakes 100 percent of the time."