Texas Edges Mountaineers in OT
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Case McCoy’s 2-yard touchdown pass to fullback Alex De La Torre in overtime gave Texas a 47-40, come-from-behind victory over West Virginia Saturday night at Milan Puskar Stadium.
“Congratulations to coach (Mack) Brown and his staff. He’s one of the greats in the profession – always has been and always will be,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “They’re undefeated in the Big 12, 6-0; it would have been a big win for us, but we just weren’t able to make the plays when it counts, which is tough to take.”
On West Virginia’s overtime possession, the Longhorns’ Steve Edmond picked off Paul Millard on fourth and goal at the 4 when Millard tried to loft a pass to tight end Cody Clay in an attempt to force a second overtime period.
It was the fifth turnover of the game for the Mountaineers, who drop to 4-6, 2-5, with tonight’s loss. This was the second consecutive overtime game for West Virginia, which knocked off TCU, 30-27, in Fort Worth last weekend.
Tonight, West Virginia was just a play away from defeating the 7-2, 6-0 Longhorns, but the defense couldn’t come up with the stop it needed on fourth and seven at the 46 with less than a minute remaining. McCoy hooked up with Jaxon Shipley for a nine-yard gain to move the sticks, and then Malcolm Brown ran 27 yards to the WVU 11 to set up Anthony Fera’s game-tying, 24-yard field goal with 13 seconds on the clock.
The West Virginia offense also had a chance to put the game away, needing a third and one at its own 35 with less than three minutes remaining to keep the sticks and the clock moving, but Dreamius Smith was thrown for a 1-yard loss, forcing WVU to punt the ball back to Texas.
Nick O’Toole then got off just a 30-yard punt, giving Texas good field position at its own 36 with 2:35 to go and all three timeouts still available.
“It was tough to take,” said Holgorsen of the offense’s inability to make a critical first down late in the game. “We called two consecutive run plays and didn’t get a yard. I don’t know what else to call.”
This is the fourth straight Big 12 game that West Virginia was unable to hold on to a third-quarter lead, dropping games to Texas Tech, Kansas State and Texas, while coming back to defeat TCU. Against Texas Tech, WVU had a 27-16 lead in the third quarter before the Red Raiders stormed back to win 37-27. Against K-State, WVU had a 12-7 advantage before the Wildcats pulled away with 28 unanswered points in a 35-12 victory. And, West Virginia had a 10-point lead at TCU last week before the Horned Frogs tied it at the end of regulation.
Against Texas, West Virginia held a 26-16 advantage with 7:34 left in the third quarter when Charles Sims ran for a 1-yard touchdown, and WVU also had leads of 26-23, 33-30, and 40-37.
McCoy finished the game completing 27-of-49 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns, his other two scoring tosses coming to Mike Davis (49 yards) and Shipley (10 yards).
Brown (two yard TD run) and Joe Bergeron (eight-yard TD run) also produced touchdowns, and Fera kicked four field goals for the Longhorns.
Shipley finished the game with seven catches for 82 yards, including several clutch third-down receptions in the second half when Texas was six-for-six on third downs during one stretch.
West Virginia jumped out to an early 9-0 lead, getting a safety on a blocked punt by Jewone Snow and a Sims 3-yard touchdown run.
Then Millard came in for starting quarterback Clint Trickett, who was injured on West Virginia’s second possession of the game, to complete 16-of-32 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown.
Millard’s 72-yard touchdown pass to Mario Alford with 7:39 left in the fourth quarter gave the Mountaineers a 40-37 lead.
“He did well,” Holgorsen said of Millard’s performance tonight. “For a guy who was benched and didn’t take a bunch of reps I was proud of his effort. He was able to go in there and try and get the game won, but he didn’t make enough throws and we didn’t make enough catches.”
Sims had another good game for WVU, rushing for 93 yards on 24 carries and scoring three touchdowns, while Dreamius Smith added 24 yards on the ground with an 8-yard touchdown run.
Overall, Texas out-gained West Virginia 435-399, including a 152-109 advantage on the ground. The Longhorns sacked West Virginia quarterbacks six times and were eight-for-eight in red zone scoring opportunities tonight.
“We max-protected and threw it quick,” said Holgorsen of WVU’s strategy to help protect its quarterbacks. “We had a hard time pass protecting against them. They brought it pretty good.”
The WVU defense, which held Texas to 16 points and 123 yards in the first half, gave up 31 points and 312 yards in the second half.
“They probably wore us down a little bit,” said Holgorsen. “They are a physical football team. We knew they were going to run it a good bit.”
Texas is very much still in the hunt for a Big 12 championship and will have a pair of key home games against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech ahead of its Dec. 7 showdown at Baylor.
West Virginia wraps up its regular season with a pair of games at Kansas next weekend and then at home against Iowa State, looking to extend its consecutive bowl streak to 12 years.
Next Saturday’s Kansas game will kick off at noon.
West Virginia Mountaineers, Texas Longhorns, Big 12 Conference football
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Wearing the Jersey: Brianna Kerekes
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Head Coach Dana Holgorsen