Notes and Key Plays From WVU's Win Over Texas

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Timely turnovers and efficient offense allowed West Virginia to secure a win for the second straight week, this time by a score of 38-20 over visiting Texas.

  • ·         West Virginia’s offense put its defense in a hole early when Skyler Howard was intercepted on his third passing attempt of the game. Howard tried to hit Ka’Raun White on a slant for a third down conversion, but threw the ball low and behind his receiver and into the arms of Texas corner Davante Davis. Texas took over at midfield for its first drive of the game.
  • ·         Despite that early setback, West Virginia’s defense answered the bell, bailing out its offense by forcing a three-and-out and a punt, and basically setting the reset button on the game.
  • ·         After giving up the first points of the game, a 31-yard Nick Rose field goal, West Virginia’s defense came up with a big play when Longhorn running back D’Onta Foreman fumbled the ball and linebacker Jared Barber scooped it up and rumbled 42 yards for a touchdown. Despite a rocky start on offense, WVU found itself with a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter.
  • ·         Foreman didn’t take long to make up for his mistake, taking his next carry 65 yards to the house and putting Texas right back into the lead, 10-7.
  • ·         While the offense struggled to do much of anything in the first quarter, punter Nick O’Toole did his part to make sure WVU was winning the field position battle. On two of his first three punts, he pinned the Longhorns inside their own 10 yard line, and his third punt was downed at the 1.
  • ·         WVU’s defense let Texas off the hook on that possession, however, as the Longhorns used their running game to get out of the danger zone and improve their field position. A holding penalty halted the ‘Horns momentum, however, and they were unable to move the ball past their own 20.
  • ·         On its ensuing offensive possession, West Virginia put together its best drive of the half, marching 56 yards on eight plays and taking a 14-10 lead on a 1-yard Elijah Wellman touchdown plunge. West Virginia ran the ball seven times for 38 yards on the drive.
  • ·         With Texas driving and poised to answer WVU’s score, the Mountaineer defense came up with another huge play with a second fumble recovery. The Longhorns were within field goal range before the play, and instead of narrowing the margin, they gave away all the momentum they had built up on the drive.
  • ·         West Virginia effectively lulled Texas to sleep with the running game in the second quarter, and quarterback Skyler Howard threw a perfect deep ball to Jovon Durante for a 53-yard score to shock the Longhorn defense and take a 21-10 lead with a minute remaining in the first half.
  • ·         Wendell Smallwood eclipsed the 100 yard mark before the game reached halftime, and went over 1,000 yards for the season on the day.
  • ·         Texas got right back into the game with an impressive opening drive of the second half. The Longhorns went 80 yards on 15 plays and found the end zone on a five-yard TD connection from Jerrod Heard to Daje Johnson, bringing the score to 21-17. The drive lasted 6:21.
  • ·         After his early interception, Skyler Howard bounced back with an efficient performance, making some on-the-money throws in big time spots, including an eight-yard toss to an outstretched Daikiel Shorts to push WVU’s lead to 28-17 late in the third quarter.
  • ·         The good times kept on rolling for WVU on the next play, as the Mountaineers forced their fourth fumble of the day, and recovered their third, on the ensuing kickoff. Texas had lost just four fumbles all year coming into this game, and seven turnovers all season prior to playing WVU.
  • ·         West Virginia converted that opportunity into points, albeit just a field goal, to push its lead to 31-17 on the first play of the fourth quarter.
  • ·         Cornerback Daryl Worley reeled in West Virginia’s fourth turnover of the day when he intercepted Jerrod Heard’s deep ball attempt on fourth down. It was the fourth interception of the season for Worley, and the second game in a row he has come up with a pick.
  • ·         Nick Kwiatkoski picked off Heard two possessions later to bring WVU’s turnover total on the day to five, and that turnover effectively sealed West Virginia’s fifth win of the season.

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