That ended a 10-game losing streak at home against ranked opponents.
"We didn't carry Coach Strong around the locker room, just did some pushups in the air with him," said Malcom Brown. "He's a little heavier than I thought. He's pretty stocky."
#2 ... LB Jordan Hicks, who made back-to-back plays on third- and fourth-down to stop WVU in Texas' red zone in the 3Q, said beating a ranked team (No. 24) at home qualified as a signature win.
"Yeah, I think it does count as a signature win," Hicks said. "You beat a ranked team at home, when we haven't done that much lately? Yeah, I think it does."
DT Malcom Brown said it was "just a win" when asked if it was a signature win.
"We could have been winning these games all year - against Baylor and OU," Brown said. "We just had to learn how to finish."
#3 ... Everyone was happy for DE Ced Reed, who exploded for 3 sacks vs WVU, including a safety, after posting just 1.5 sacks the first nine games.
"Ced Reed came alive tonight," Charlie Strong said.
"I was just so excited for him," sad DT Brown, who grabbed Reed for an on-field celebration after Reed's first sack . "He's been working so hard and to see it pay off tonight, I was just like, 'Yeah!'"
#4 ... It was a huge win for Texas considering all the recruits in town.
"The juice was in the stadium all day," Strong said. "So now they can walk away saying, 'It's a lot better than I thought. It's a lot different than I thought. It is a great program, and if they want t be a part of it, they'll have that opportunity.
"This is a great place and so when you bring in recruits and you have a chance to win at home like we did, it makes it even better."
#5 ... The offense dominated in the first half, running the ball at will - 22 carries for 178 yards (8.1 ypc), and Tyrone Swoopes was 4-of-4 passing to start the game, including a third-and-15 conversion pass to Jaxon Shipley and a 2-yard TD pass to TE Geoff Swaim.
Yes, Texas scored a TD on its first drive of the game for only the second time all year (Iowa State).
But the offense was completely ineffective in the second half as Shawn Watson turned to the pass to beat WVU's blitz - and Swoopes struggled more and more as the game wore on.
Swoopes was 11-of-29 passing for 124 yards and 1 TD, but he was just 3-of-15 passing for 36 yards and critical INT in the 4Q.
WVU turned Swoopes' INT into a 4-play, 80-yard TD drive fueled by WVU's longest run of the night - a 62-yard run by Dreamius Smith - to cut what was a 24-3 Texas lead to 26-16. WVU missed a 2-point conversion pass to Kevin White that would have made it a one-possession game.
The only points the offense put on the board in the entire second half was a 15-yard TD run by Johnathan Gray after the Texas defense gave the offense the ball at the WVU 15 with a 4th-down stop.
#6 ... Shawn Watson explained the tale of two halves offensively this way:
Watson said WVU came out blitzing on every play in the 3Q, so Watson said his adjustment was to try to beat the blitz with a quick passing game.
Watson said the O-line was doing such a good job of protecting Swoopes and picking up the blitz that he kept having Swoopes throw it, hoping he'd be able to make WVU's defense pay. It didn't happen.
"Ty is really seeing the rush," Watson said. "And I thought the line did a great job of protecting him. So he just needs to step up in the pocket, set his feet and throw it."
#7 ... When I asked Charlie Strong about a first half in which Texas scored on 4 of its first 7 possessions and averaged 8.1 yards per carry, compared to a second half in which Texas ran 32 plays for 85 yards (2.7 ypp), he said:
"We just didn't execute. We can get that solved."
When asked if this game showed that Texas knows how to finish, he said:
"You'd love to see us get more on offense, just drive the football. We had the ball down there plenty of times. You think about it, they gave us the ball, gave us our opportunities, and we didn't get the score. We just need to play a lot better on offense."
#8 ... The Texas running game was really good in the first half - but totaled just 49 yards on 17 carries in the second half (2.9 ypc).
Johnathan Gray had 5 carries for 85 yards at halftime (17 ypc) and 2 TDs. Gray finished with 10 carries for 101 yards and 3 TDs - giving Texas back-to-back games with 100-yard rushers after Malcolm Brown did it last week in Lubbock.
Brown finished with 20 carries for 90 yards (4.5 ypc) - 10 of those for 27 yards came in the second half, after taking big hit from WVU S Karl Joseph in the 2Q and sitting out the last half of the 2Q.
Strong went out on the field to check on Brown after he was slow to get up.
"I was like, 'Are you okay?'" Strong said. "He was like, 'I don't want to lay here, Coach. I've got to get off the field.'
"I said, 'You got blown up. You need to kind of sit here for a minute.' So we were kind of joking out on the field and laughing about it. I said, 'He blew you up.' He's like, 'Come on, Coach. Can I get out of here?' And I said, 'No. Just stay here for a second.'"
#9 ... Strong said he loves putting a game on his defense to finish off.
"I love doing it. I love putting the game on the defensive shoulders. The way we play this game, the defense plays well. If the defense doesn't play well, we have no shot at all."
In the 3Q, WVU ran 29 plays and 21 of them were in Texas territory - yet WVU didn't score a point in the 3Q.
Jordan Hicks made a huge stop on Mario Alford in one-on-one coverage, stopping for a 2-yard gain on third-and-9 from the Texas 10. Then, Hicks stuffed Kevin White on a WR screen for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-7 on the next play.
#10 ... The defense came up with a huge goal-line stand in the 1Q to force a FG after WVU had first-and-goal from the Texas 2.
Here's how it played out:
Jordan Hicks and Ced Reed stopped RB Wendell Smallwood for a 1-yard gain on first down.
Trickett threw incomplete to Kevin White in the end zone - Q Diggs had better position for the ball than White.
Then, Caleb Bluiett grabbed Smallwood and Steve Edmond came in with a hammer shot to stop Smallwood short of the goal line on third down.
WVU lined up to go for it on fourth-and-goal and false started, resulting in a WVU FG instead of a TD - again - after WVU had first-and-goal from the Texas 2. Big sequence.
#11 ... WVU WR Kevin White, one of the best in the country, lined up on the right side of WVU's offense, so Quandre Diggs played CB on that side and lined up on White most of the game.
After some early catches by White (6 catches for 65 yds) and a pass interference flag on Diggs, Quandre got the upper hand, including a big INT before the half that Texas converted into a FG and a 24-3 lead.
White finished with 16 catches for 132 yards, but he never found the end zone.
#12 ... Once again, Texas special teams were all over the place.
UT gave up big kick returns to Mario Alford ... William Russ was replaced as punter by Michael Davidson after Russ had a 23-yard punt ... And Nick Rose shanked a 46-yard FG attempt way wide.
But Adrian Colbert did down a punt at the WVU 1-yard-line.
#13 ... A quick Texas kickoff/kick return note:
Texas was the nation's worst at covering kickoffs.
But since the OU game (when Alex Ross returned a kick 91 yards for a TD), Texas only had 1 kick return for 19 yards (vs Texas Tech) in the next 3 games.
K-State and Iowa State didn't have a single KR because Nick Rose had been booting the ball for touchbacks.
Saturday, WVU's lethal Mario Alford (who had a 100-yard kick return for TD vs Alabama) was able to return Rose's first two kickoffs - into a 15 mph wind - for 70 yards, including a 48-yard return.
Those were the only two kickoffs WVU had, though, as Rose was able to regain his touchback touch.
#14 ... That was as good of a first half as Texas has played all season.
#15 ... If Texas was going to have any bowl hopes, it had to win this game. Now, the Longhorns (5-5, 4-3) have to win one of their final two games - at Oklahoma State or at home vs TCU.
Texas had to win this game to give its fan base some juice and all the recruits in town some juice.
Texas did that.
Now, it's time for Shawn Watson and Tyrone Swoopes to get back in the lab and figure out how to make Texas' QB and UT's offense move forward - instead of the steps back we saw in the second half vs WVU.
Beating Oklahoma State in Stillwater is difficult but doable.
There will be some bad blood between Joe Wickline and his former employer over their litigation concerning Wickline's contract buyout. Who knows if that will be a rallying cry internally on the offense?
More importantly, Swoopes needs to take another step in being a pocket passer and remember that he's 6-4 and 240 and doesn't need to be getting happy feet every time he feels a rush.
And Watson needs to realize there are other ways to beat a blitz than putting the ball back in the hands of a skittish, pocket QB.
How about handing the ball to Daje Johnson on speed sweeps until they flipping stop it. The guy is averaging 26.5 yards per carry.
Get the ball to your space players in space.
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