Texas Football grabs huge road win over West Virginia


The Texas Longhorns beat West Virginia 28-14 on the road Saturday afternoon to secure bowl eligibility.

It was a big win for Tom Herman and the Texas Longhorns, who missed a bowl game the last two seasons before Herman arrived.

Now, the Longhorns get those extra practices, the bowl game swag, and a chance to finish the season with a winning record.

Is 8-5 reasonable now? First, the Longhorns have to beat Texas Tech the day after Thanksgiving. Then, we’ll see who Texas plays in their bowl game. But, the team has a lot of momentum after two big wins following their low point of the season against TCU.

How Texas won this game against West Virginia was a combination of two major factors.

Watch out for The Return of the Left Tackle King

There is no doubt that left tackle Connor Williams had a huge impact on Texas beating West Virginia. Williams had missed the entire Big 12 conference slate with an injury suffered in the USC game.

With Williams returning to action against WVU, offensive coordinator Tim Beck stayed committed to the running game for one of the few times this season. And, that led to the running game opening up to the tune of 233 total rushing yards.

Daniel Young picked up 85 yards rushing with a TD, Kyle Porter rushed for 53 yards with a TD, and Toneil Carter added 27 tough yards.

A lot of that rushing attack was to the left side of the offense, where Williams opened up huge holes to give the RBs plenty of space to run.

There was another major factor that contributed to Texas winning.

QB Play Affected Both Teams

Both teams finished the game with their second QB. Unfortunately for WVU, there was a significant drop-off from Will Grier to Chris Chugunov.

On the biggest play of the first half, Grier dove for a TD in the corner of the endzone. It was initially ruled a TD, but replays showed Grier fumbling through the endzone, resulting in a touchback.

Not only was the TD wiped away and Texas took the ball, Grier suffered a gruesome injury to his throwing hand. That ended his day, bringing in backup QB Chugunov for the rest of the game.

On the other side of the ball, Shane Buechele started for the Longhorns. However, the offense stagnated in difficult weather conditions, highlighted by WRs dropping balls to convert first downs.

Sam Ehlinger then came in and played the rest of the game. Ehlinger added a running dimension to the game, picking up 68 yards on the ground.

Ehlinger engineered two TD drives in the first half, completing TD passes to transfer TE Kendall Moore and converted RB Chris Warren out of the TE slot.

That was the good side of Ehlinger. But, early in the second half, Ehlinger made a very poor mistake. With Texas driving to take a 21-0 lead, Ehlinger threw an ill-advised desperation pass to avoid a sack that was intercepted and returned 94 yards for a TD.

Suddenly, it was a 14-7 game. Fortunately, Texas bounced back with two great running plays later in the third quarter to jump out ahead 21-7.

After WVU made it 21-14 in the fourth quarter, Ehlinger led a decisive fourth quarter drive to give Texas the final margin of 28-14.

The issue on Ehlinger’s big mistake was the exact same error from the Oklahoma State game that Texas lost in overtime.

First, Beck called a rollout on a first and goal situation from the 2 yardline. That same play lost Texas the game against OSU. This time, it resulted in a Pick 6. Fortunately, it did not cost Texas the game, but it was a poor playcall compounded by poor execution. That’s something Ehlinger and Beck will need to work on as Ehlinger matures in his first college football season.

Texas Defense was Stellar to Support Offense

The Longhorns defense forced Will Grier out of the game, did not allow points in the first half, and had another stellar showing under DC Todd Orlando.

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The only TD drive of the game for WVU was the result of a few bogus penalties, including a wretched targeting call against Breckyn Hager that should have been overtuned on replay.

Unfortunately, Hager was ejected and he will miss the first half of next week’s game against Texas Tech. On the play, Hager’s facemask was grasped by a WVU offensive lineman. (No penalty against the WVU lineman.) That grasp sent Hager flying into QB Chugunov, causing the targeting.

Because of how egregious the mistake was from the Big 12 officials, it will be interesting to see if Texas is able to petition the Big 12 to have the targeting overturned so Hager can play the full game against Tech next week.

Outside of that TD drive for WVU, their only scoring threat was the drive where Grier fumbled through the endzone and was injured.

The defense did not record an interception, which was surprising. However, they had a huge strip sack fumble recovery in the fourth quarter to set up the decisive drive to make the game 28-14.

Now Texas’ defense can put a stamp on a successful season next week against Texas Tech in the regular season finale.