West Virginia at Texas

No. 11 West Virginia gets huge Big 12 win at Texas 24-20

By JIM VERTUNO
AP Sports Writer
  •  

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) After bringing the big hits all day, the West Virginia defense still had to watch as the Texas desperation pass gently floated toward the end zone and then drifted too far.

Then came the celebration.

Then the wait to see if the Mountaineers had too many players on the field and if Texas would get one last shot to win.

Nope. Game over. West Virginia's chase for its first Big 12 championship is still alive.

Kennedy McKoy ran for two touchdowns and Mountaineers (8-1, 5-1, No. 16 CFP) earned a tough 24-20 Big 12 road win, setting up a showdown with league leader Oklahoma next week.

The Mountaineers have not yet won a league title since joining the Big 12 in 2012 but are chasing one with rugged defense in a league spends most weekends breaking scoreboards.

''They wanted to get this win pretty bad,'' West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. ''Our goal has always been to win the Big 12 ... That defense was excellent.''

Skyler Howard passed for 269 yards and a touchdown for the Mountaineers. The defense gave up 536 yards but got four sacks, forced three turnovers and kept Texas running back D'Onta Foreman, the Big 12's leading rusher, out of the end zone .

One of those turnovers came on a big hit on Texas quarterback Shane Buechele by Kyzir White that forced a fourth-quarter fumble inside the West Virginia 25.

Buechele passed for 318 yards and drove the Longhorns to final chance to win before his last pass fell incomplete. The Longhorns twice fought back from double-digit deficits before the final play.

''We kept taking our punches and kept coming back,'' Texas Charlie Strong said. ''Throw the Hail Mary and had the chance to win it.''

Foreman finished with 167 yards, his 11th consecutive 100-yard game, which tied former Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell's Texas school record.

THE TAKEAWAY

West Virginia: The Mountaineers came in with the Big 12's best defense and lived up to the billing. Most of Foreman's yards came early and the Mountaineers pounded him and Buechele in the second half. The West Virginia offense had four turnovers, three by Howard, but the defense surrendered just seven points off those. Foreman also had an early fumble.

''They give (Foreman) the ball and ride him. We had to stop him and make others make plays. We did that,'' West Virginia linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton said.

Texas: The pressure is back on Strong, who now has three consecutive five-loss seasons. Texas looked to be turning things around with big wins over Baylor and Texas Tech, but the numbers game is catching up to Strong, who is facing intense speculation that he could be fired. Texas is still trying to get bowl-eligible after not making one last season.

''I really don't worry about that,'' Strong said of his tenuous job status. ''I have a really good group of guys and I know they are going to play for me. They're going to battle. They're going to give everything they've got.''

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The victory and impressive defense should keep West Virginia hovering around the top 10 . Keep winning at the Mountaineers can only move up.

OPEN MIC

Holgorsen could be heard using profanity and telling game officials his players were tougher than Texas when an open microphone picked his argument over a reversed fumble. The Mountaineers led 17-3 and recovered a muffed punt return when officials determined they had interfered with the catch. The Longhorns seized on the momentum change by quickly marching to a touchdown in a 10-point rally that cut the lead to 17-13 by halftime.

MISSING MALIK

Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson, whose resurgent play the previous two weeks had been key to the Longhorns' improved defense, left the game in early in the first quarter and did not return. Texas officials said he was being evaluated for a head injury. He had three tackles, including one for a loss, when he was taken out.

UP NEXT

West Virginia: The Mountaineers return home next Saturday to host Big 12 leader Oklahoma in a game with huge implications for the league title.

Texas: The Longhorns go on the road to Kansas next Saturday.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25 .

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Previous versions of this story incorrectly spelled the name of Kennedy McKoy.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
West Virginia #16  (8-1) «1077024
Texas  (5-5)3107020
Players of the Game
Mountaineers

K. McKoy
Rush 25
Yds 73
Avg 2.9
TD 2
Longhorns

S. Buechele
Att 48
Comp 31
Yds 318
TD 1
Scoring Summary
TEXASTrent Domingue 27 yd FG
WVUMike Molina 44 yd FG
WVUKennedy McKoy 8 yd run (Mike Molina kick)
WVUKa'Raun White 29 yd pass from Skyler Howard (Mike Molina kick)
TEXASShane Buechele 10 yd run (Trent Domingue kick)
TEXASTrent Domingue 19 yd FG
WVUKennedy McKoy 3 yd run (Mike Molina kick)
TEXASCollin Johnson 20 yd pass from Shane Buechele (Trent Domingue kick)
 
Team Stats
 WVUTEXAS
First Downs2232
Third Down Efficiency8-155-17
Fourth Down Efficiency0-02-3
Plays-Net Yards73-383100-536
Rushes-Yds38-11450-218
Passing Yds269318
Kick Return Yds2564
Punt Return Yds-30
Passes21-35-331-50-1
Punts5-2234-175
Fumbles-Lost1-13-2
Penalties-Yds5-555-50
Time of Poss.26:1833:42
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
WVU: Kennedy McKoy 25-73, Skyler Howard 9-27, Justin Crawford 3-12, Rushel Shell III 1-2
TEXAS: D'Onta Foreman 35-167, Shane Buechele 13-44, Kyle Porter 2-7
PASSING
WVU: Skyler Howard 21-35-269-3
TEXAS: Shane Buechele 31-48-318-1, Team 0-2-0-0
RECEIVING
WVU: Ka'Raun White 6-82, Daikiel Shorts Jr. 5-75, Shelton Gibson 4-65, Jovon Durante 3-30, Kennedy McKoy 3-17
TEXAS: Dorian Leonard 7-125, Collin Johnson 7-68, Jake Oliver 5-24, D'Onta Foreman 3-32, Devin Duvernay 3-29, Jacorey Warrick 2-21, Jerrod Heard 2-15, John Burt 2-4
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
West Virginia2nd Big 12 7-210-3
Texas6th Big 12 3-65-7

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