The Mountaineers (6-4, 4-3 Big 12 Conference) weren't able to bounce back from last week's difficult loss to TCU - failing to get any momentum going on either side of the ball from the start of the game.
After a few weeks of consistent, solid performances, the Mountaineer defense wasn't able to do much against Texas to start. The Longhorns were able to jump out to a 24-3 lead thanks to a 17-point outburst in the second quarter. It was the most points the Mountaineers have allowed in a quarter since allowing 21 points to Oklahoma in the second quarter of their fourth game of the season.
The Longhorns did much of that damage on the ground, picking up 178 rushing yards in the first half - including 85 yards on five carries for Johnathan Gray.
And while the West Virginia defense struggled to find its footing early on against the Longhorn offense, the Mountaineers weren't doing much offensively to help their case either. WVU was in Texas territory five times early on, turning those opportunities into just three points.
Tyrone Swoopes and the Texas offense got the scoring started on the Longhorns' opening drive, marching down the field 90 yards after a WVU punt and getting into the end zone on a two-yard touchdown toss from Swoopes to a wide open Geoff Swaim to give UT a 7-0 lead.
WVU got on the board with a Josh Lambert field goal in the first quarter but Texas (5-5, 4-3) asserted its first-half dominance by scoring those 17 unanswered points in the second quarter, thanks to two rushing touchdowns for Gray and a Nick Rose field goal.
West Virginia wouldn't go away quietly in the second half, though, despite not getting much consistency from its offense. The Mountaineers were able to score a couple of touchdowns in the final two quarters, with Dreamius Smith’s fourth-quarter touchdown run giving the offense its first touchdown since the third quarter of WVU’s loss to TCU.
But those touchdowns weren’t sandwiched between a series of missed opportunities that included two turnovers on downs, a lost fumble, a safety and Lambert’s second missed field goal of the game.
All in all, WVU just seemed to take two steps back after every step forward against the stout Longhorn defense.
After struggling the last two weeks, Clint Trickett and Kevin White were able to get their connection back to what it looked like during the first half of the season. White caught a school-record 16 catches for 132 yards while Trickett completed 36 of 49 pass attempts for 248 yards and an interception.
Smith led the Mountaineers with 10 carries for 100 yards, while Wendell Smallwood scored WVU’s other offensive touchdown of the day and finished the game with 13 carries for 48 yards.
It was Texas’ two-headed monster in the backfield that led the way for the Longhorns. Gray led the way, with three touchdowns and 101 yards on 10 carries, while Malcolm Brown ran the ball 20 times for 90 yards.
WVU will have a week off before taking on Kansas State at Milan Puskar Stadium on Nov. 20 and Texas travels to Stillwater, Okla., to take on Oklahoma State next week.