After the great Big 12 exodus of 2012 when Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas A&M left the conference, West Virginia took the opportunity to join the Big 12.
It didn’t take long for the Mountaineers to become acclimated to the Big 12 style of football. West Virginia’s first Big 12 matchup against Texas was a 48-45 shootout, with West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and Texas quarterback David Ash trading blow after blow before the Mountaineers eventually prevailed.
But that wasn’t the first time the two schools played. All the way back in 1956, West Virginia traveled down to Austin and won 7-6, beating a Longhorn team that ended 1–9 on the season.
That 1956 West Virginia victory is the critical game separating the two teams on the all-time series record, with the Mountaineers leading 5–4. The two teams match up evenly at 4–4 in their eight Big 12 games starting since 2012, and the Mountaineers boast a 3–1 all-time record in Austin.
This Saturday, Texas will have its shot to even up the series and improve to 5–2. But if there’s one thing to learn from this series’ meager history, it’s that there are no favorites. The Longhorns have upset multiple ranked West Virginia teams, and the Mountaineers have returned the favor when Vegas leaned toward Texas winning.
The Mountaineers’ last win in Austin was the 2018 thriller where quarterback Will Grier led West Virginia to a last-minute victory and threw the Horns Down in front of the Texas student section.
While Texas is favored in the spread to take this Saturday’s game at home, don’t be surprised if West Virginia mounts its own upset scare.
GAME TO REMEMBER:
This week’s game to remember is the 2013 matchup between the two teams. Texas was still searching for its first win all-time against West Virginia after losing in 1956 and 2012. The Longhorns also were traveling to Morgantown to play at Mountaineer Field for the first time in team history.
The Mountaineers had a home-field advantage, but they were in the middle of a down year after losing all-time passing leader Geno Smith to the NFL.
Nevertheless, West Virginia would take an early lead and keep it through halftime at 19-13. But the Longhorn defense kept the game close, and Texas safety Adrian Phillips intercepted Mountaineers quarterback Paul Millard on the Mountaineers’ first possession of the half.
The two teams traded scores in a back-and-forth affair. Texas quarterback Case McCoy threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Mike Davis on one drive to get within 26-23, then dropped another touchdown pass for 29 yards to Davis on the next drive, which gave Texas a 30-26 lead.
West Virginia didn’t wilt under the Longhorn comeback and then took a 33-30 lead. But Texas answered, with McCoy finding receiver Jaxon Shipley for a 36-yard gain on third-and-14. Later in the drive, McCoy again went to Shipley for a 10-yard touchdown.
Not to be outdone, Millard hit his wide receiver Mario Alford for a 72-yard pass to put West Virginia up 40-37 with 7:39 left in the fourth quarter.
But the McCoy-Shipley connection came in clutch for the Longhorns again, with the quarterback throwing to the wide receiver to convert a critical fourth-and-7 that allowed Texas to tie up the game with 13 seconds left in regulation.
In overtime, the Longhorns drove down the field with ease, and the defense did what it had done all night: come up with big plays.
Texas linebacker Steve Edmond intercepted Millard in the end zone on fourth down to win the game for the Longhorns. Edmond led a Texas defense that forced four fumbles, recovered three, and snagged two interceptions and six sacks.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING:
Oct. 5, 2019: University of Texas at Austin at West Virginia University, Milan Puskar Stadium, 42-31
Nov. 3, 2018: University of Texas at Austin vs. West Virginia University, Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, 41-42
Nov. 18, 2017: University of Texas at Austin at West Virginia University, Milan Puskar Stadium, 28-14
Nov. 12, 2016: University of Texas at Austin vs. West Virginia University, Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, 20-24
Nov. 14, 2015: University of Texas at Austin at West Virginia University, Milan Puskar Stadium, 20-38