After thrilling overtime play, Texas was able to escape from Morgantown, W.VA., with its sixth Big 12 victory of the season in as many tries. Here are four key aspects of Texas’ 47-40 win Saturday night win during its first ever trip to West Virginia.
Strong defensive line
Texas’ defensive line has been a very talked about aspect of the Longhorns play this season for good reason. And Saturday night, the front four once again produced a strong showing.
Texas tallied seven sacks and forced two fumbles against the Mountaineers. Junior defensive end Cedric Reed produced All-American-like play as he recorded his second forced fumble in consecutive games, while senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat recorded another sack. Through the last six games, Texas has now recorded 24 sacks.
Once again, senior quarterback Case McCoy came through in the end to win the game. But the offense was inconsistent for most of the night as McCoy completed just 27 of his 49 pass attempts.
Twice, the Longhorns had 1st-and-goal from the seven-yard line and failed to get the ball in the end zone. Their first four drives of the game ended in a safety, fumble, interception and a punt. Despite this, in the second half, Texas was able to score 27 points as it traded leads with West Virginia.
The Longhorns were able to gain their sixth Big 12 victory of the season without two of their main forces who are now sidelined for the rest of the season — junior running back Johnathan Gray and senior defensive tackle Chris Whaley. Whaley was carted off the field after injuring his left knee on a goal line play in the first quarter. Whaley has accounted for two defensive touchdowns this season. In the third quarter, Gray suffered an Achilles injury. Gray has gathered 780 yards of rushing this season with four touchdowns, making him one of Texas’ biggest offensive weapons.
Despite two losses, Texas has yet to lose the turnover battle this season. The Longhorns suffered two turnovers against West Virginia while the Mountaineers gave up the ball five times. Turnovers have been a key factor to the Longhorns success in the Big 12. Against Oklahoma and Kansas, scores off of turnovers produced the much-needed momentum that has kept Texas undefeated.