Final update (2:55 p.m.): Howard notched 41 passing yards on his first two throws of the second half. He had the Mountaineers marching down the field. But his third pass attempt of the half didn’t go his way — he threw a costly interception to Longhorn safety PJ Locke.
Buechele marched the Longhorns down the field after the turnover, but the drive stalled again in West Virginia territory, forcing Strong to send Domingue onto the field for his third field goal attempt of the contest.
It didn’t go as well as the previous two. The Mountaineers blocked his 38-yard try to retain their 17–13 lead.
West Virginia rebounded from the Howard interception with a scoring drive on its next possession. Kennedy McKoy spurted into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the afternoon, giving the Mountaineers a 24–13 lead.
Buechele and the Longhorns needed another scoring drive to get back in the ballgame. They didn’t get it. Buechele intended a pass for sophomore receiver John Burt, but Burt had the ball ripped from his hands for a West Virginia interception.
Howard returned the favor three plays later. He floated a pass too far into the end zone where it was intercepted by senior safety Dylan Haines.
The Longhorns took advantage of the turnover this time. Texas drove 80 yards down the field in 2:12, finishing the drive on freshman receiver Collin Johnson’s 20-yard catch and run touchdown. The score pulled the Longhorns to within 24–20.
Howard threw another interception on the Mountaineer’s next possession. Haines picked off the senior near midfield, setting Texas up in a good spot to potentially drive down the field to take the lead.
The Longhorns got close, getting as far as the West Virginia 15-yard line where they faced third and five. The Mountaineers brought the pressure, hitting Buechele hard. The true freshman fumbled before he hit the turf, and the Mountaineers swallowed it up on the Texas 20-yard line.
The Texas defense made one more huge stop with just under two minutes to go, forcing the Mountaineers to give the ball back to Buechele and the Longhorns one final time.
Texas had a chance to win the game with 1:25 left and zero timeouts. It moved the ball methodically down the field, taking what the defense gave it.
But Buechele’s final pass of the game fell incomplete out of the back of the end zone, and Texas fell in the game, 24–20.
Halftime update (12:55 p.m.): Head coach Charlie Strong won the coin toss and elected to receive for the first time all season. His decision turned out to be a good one.
Texas drove the ball 65 yards on 12 plays and appeared destined to enter the end zone early in the contest. But the drive stalled in the red zone, forcing senior Trent Domingue to attempt a short 27-yard field goal. He knocked it through to give Texas a 3–0 lead.
West Virginia responded with a field goal of its own on its first drive of the game as well. Texas received the ensuing kickoff looking to go on another sustained scoring drive.
That didn’t happen. Junior running back and Heisman hopeful D’Onta Foreman fumbled on Texas’ first play of the possession, giving West Virginia the ball inside the red zone.
But the Mountaineers couldn’t take advantage of Foreman’s miscue, fumbling the ball themselves two plays later. Texas averted a serious threat, but the offense continued to struggle.
Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele and the Longhorns couldn’t get much going at all for most of the first half. The stingy Mountaineer defense forced sophomore Michael Dickson to punt three times in the first half.
On the other side of the ball, the West Virginia offense started clicking. Senior quarterback Howard led his team on a nine-play, 66-yard touchdown drive to give the Mountaineers’ a 10–3 advantage late in the first quarter.
Howard wasn’t done. He engineered another long scoring drive early in the second half. He found junior receiver Ka’raun White in the corner of the end zone to extend the West Virginia lead to 17–3.
White’s catch was a dandy, falling onto his back after being pushed to the ground by sophomore cornerback Kris Boyd. He brought in the ball despite the penalty.
Later in the quarter, the Longhorns forced West Virginia to punt. Junior receiver Jacorey Warrick decided to let the ball hit the turf, but it bounced up and hit him in the leg. The Mountaineers recovered the loose ball.
But the referees said Warrick had been interfered with, giving the ball to Texas on a controversial call. The Longhorns took advantage. Buechele scored on a zone read five plays into the drive to pull Texas to within 17–10.
On Texas’ next possession, Foreman went over 100-plus rushing yards for the 11th straight game, tying Earl Campbell’s school record. Foreman also converted on fourth and short two times on the drive.
But with Texas facing fourth and short again from the two-yard line with nine seconds left, Strong elected to just take the points. Domingue knocked through another chip shot, and Texas headed for the locker room trailing West Virginia 17–13.
Original story: The sun shines down on the Forty Acres this morning as the Longhorns return home to battle another ranked opponent. Texas (4–4, 3–3 Big 12) looks to remain unbeaten at home. But the task will not be easy as the visiting West Virginia Mountaineers (7–1, 4–1) boast the best scoring defense in the conference. Stay tuned to see if junior running back D’Onta Foreman has another record day to lead the Longhorns to another upset victory.
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