Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas football tops West Virginia, but Longhorns are still ‘work in progress’

Anthony Mireles

Sam Ehlinger threw three passes to three different receivers in the fourth quarter, and all of them fell incomplete. Some mistakes were on the senior quarterback, while others were on his receivers. Either way, it was ugly.

The series of incompletions Saturday afternoon at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was an illustration of Texas’ more lackluster performance this season, but the Longhorns still topped the Mountaineers 17-13. Texas head coach Tom Herman said that counts for something.

“We won, and we didn’t early in the year in these close games against … really good opponents,” Herman said. “We found a way. This is the way it’s going to be all year.”

It might be easier for fans to focus on the Longhorns’ shortcomings. Texas picked up a few careless penalties, blew coverages and stalled on offense, but the Longhorns did at least one thing well in all phases of the game.

Freshman running back Bijan Robinson got the offense off to a hot start, rushing 54 yards on the first play of the game to set Texas up for an early touchdown. He also caught a 35-yard pass from Ehlinger to give the Longhorns the first down they needed to seal the game.

“We added that to our arsenal and got big yards off of that,” Robinson said. “Shoutout to Sam for that crazy pass. I like that for him.”


Aside from junior kicker Cameron Dicker’s shanked field goal before the half, it was a solid day on special teams. Junior punter Ryan Bujcevski executed two near-perfect punts. One soared all the way to the West Virginia 3-yard line and another down to the 2-yard line.

The Mountaineers could have overcome their field position if it wasn’t for the Texas defense. Sophomore defensive lineman T’Vondre Sweat batted balls away, and junior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown tackled hard all afternoon. The same defense that allowed the Texas Tech offense to score 56 points in September limited West Virginia to a single touchdown.

Texas has won three games in a row and is now 4–2 in conference with a Big 12 championship completely in reach, but the players have much room for improvement.

“They better not be happy,” Herman said. “I told our guys all week, ‘If the best thing that you do when you look back on 2020 is you beat Oklahoma State, what a shame.’ … We are definitely a work in progress. They know that.” 

Ehlinger, who had a messier first half, said he needs to stop worrying about being perfect all the time and let his teammates make plays downfield. Ehlinger said the players understand what’s next for them, which is why they know how much work is required to reach their full potential.

The quarterback said he does everything in his power to show up for his team each week, which means he often fights through the pain of the bumps and bruises that accumulate over a long season. Ehlinger will enjoy the upcoming bye week to heal up and make strides on the field.

“Let’s take a deep breath. We’ve got a lot of improvement to do,” Ehlinger said. “I’m really excited for that.” 

The UT Tower will illuminate burnt orange tonight, and all will be well in Austin — at least for this week. The Longhorns have been in many close games that fans wish were all blowouts this season, but today they can take a moment to exhale.

Texas’ players want to dominate, too. Senior defensive lineman Ta’Quon Graham knows the team isn’t a finished product.

“I agree with my coach,” Graham said. “We’re a work in progress.”

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Texas football tops West Virginia, but Longhorns are still ‘work in progress’