MYERS: WVU trounces Texas
Throughout the 2021 season, West Virginia football fans bemoaned the plays that weren’t made which prevented victories, but on Saturday the Mountaineers played one of their best games of the season in the home finale in defeating Texas 31-23.
Three separate times the Longhorns scored touchdowns and appeared to be turning the momentum, but on each occasion the West Virginia offense answered. In the second quarter the Mountaineers went on a 12 play, 82 yard, six minute touchdown drive after Texas had cut the lead to 14-7. And after the Longhorns had closed to within a score twice in the second half both times WVU again responded to expand its lead.
Two key plays can be identified that made the difference. After giving up a 58 yard scoring pass to make it a 21-17 game, the Mountaineers were sacked on successive plays on their next possession. Facing 3rd and 18 was the type of scenario that had spelled doom for West Virginia throughout the season, but quarterback Jaret Doege rifled a 19 yard pass to Winston Wright for the first down, leading to another long drive for a touchdown.
In the fourth quarter Texas had again closed to within one score and the Mountaineers faced 3rd and 15 from their own 20, but Doege again converted the first down on a 20 yard pass to Reese Smith. West Virginia took advantage with another methodical 14 play drive ending in a 45 yard field goal.
Doege’s good quarterback play was accompanied by a second half running attack that kept Texas on its heels. Leddie Brown pounded out 158 yards on 33 carries, his best performance of the year.
The Mountaineers did not commit a turnover in 87 plays, and incurred only 19 yards in penalties. And the defense again protected a fourth quarter lead at home, stopping a potential Texas tying drive late in the game with an interception.
Texas has been trying to recapture the magic during the 10 years since WVU joined the Big 12. Over that span the Longhorns have done no better than essentially an identical win-loss record to that of the Mountaineers, and are 5-5 head to head.
They have sent packing Mack Brown, Charlie Strong and Tom Herman as head coaches. Steve Sarkisian was to be the most recent savior, but his accomplishment in year one has been the longest losing streak in 65 years. So the Longhorns will try to springboard their 8th or 9th place finish in the conference this season to soon head into the SEC. Good luck with that.
THIS SATURDAY: When would we have ever thought that a game with Kansas might be the key to a successful football season? But that is where we are, as the Mountaineers have an opportunity to salvage a year that was headed in the wrong direction into a bowl, or to finish with a losing record by being upset by the last place team in the league.
This one will not be easy, as the Jayhawks are playing with enthusiasm after their dramatic win at Texas two weeks ago, and were competitive in losing at TCU on a last second field goal Saturday. Hopefully WVU can carry over their good outing into another win.
WEST VIRGINIA 26 KANSAS 21