The Mountaineers fell short on Saturday night, losing in overtime to Texas by a final score of 47-40.
The Mountaineers would go three-and-out on their first offensive possession of the game. Texas would take over at their own 12 yard line. The West Virginia defense would force the Longhorns into a punting situation after three quick plays. Mountaineer Jewone Snow would get a punt block, and the ball rolled through the end zone for a safety, putting West Virginia up 2-0.
The momentum from the block punt continued on the next possession. Trickett connected to Charles Sims for 14 yards, giving the Mountaineers their first, first down of the game. Five plays later, Charles Sims carried the ball into the end zone, making it 9-0 West Virginia.
The Mountaineers would come up with an interception on the next Texas drive when a pass thrown to Mike Davis went through his hands and landed in the arms of Nick Kwiatkowski. Clint Trickett and the offense went back to work. This possession would be the last for Trickett. The Longhorns forced a fumble by the Mountaineers which proved to be costly, as quarterback Clint Trickett would be injured on the play and not return to the game. After the game, Coach Holgorsen says that Trickett's status is unknown.
"All I know is he got his bell rung a little," said Holgorsen. "He's a tough kid, so hopefully he's fine."
The Mountaineer defense would make a big stand, and forced Texas into a field goal, making it 9-3 with a minute left in the first quarter.
Backup Paul Millard entered the game for West Virginia, and was rusty off the bench. After a quick incompletion and a one-yard run by Sims, Millard fumbled to set up Texas with excellent field position at the West Virginia 27. The defense would not hold this time, and surrendered a touchdown, giving Texas a one point advantage, 10-9.
The West Virginia offense would go cold for most of the second quarter. After losing Trickett, the Mountaineers had six straight three-and-outs for a total of 14 yards. It looked like Texas would take over, but the Mountaineer defense would not let up. Millard and the offense would feed off the defensive success and put another touchdown on the board. The Mountaineer defense would make another stop on the next Longhorn possession, but the offense would give it right back, as Millard would fumble the ball again, giving Texas the ball at the WVU 7. The defense would rise to the occasion, holding the Longhorns to another field goal, keeping the Mountaineer lead at 16-13.
Just before the half, Josh Lambert would hit a 30-yard field goal to give the Mountaineers a six point lead at the break, 19-13.
In the second half, the Mountaineer defense held Texas to just four plays, and gave the offense another crack at getting points. Millard would be picked off on the first possession of the second half by Adrian Phillips. The turnover would lead to another field goal by Texas place kicker Anthony Fera, making it a three point game once again, 19-16.
The back and forth scoring continued. The Mountaineers would piece together a nine play, 91 yard drive on the next possession, as Sims would rush into the end zone for another touchdown. West Virginia led Texas 26-16. Sims would finish the day with 24 carries for 93 yards at three touchdowns.
Texas would respond on their next possession, when Case McCoy found Mike Davis on a 49-yard pass play to get the Longhorns back within 3, 26-23. A quick three-and-out by the Mountaineer offense gave the ball back to a hot Texas offense. The Longhorns would get their second lead of the game on a eight yard touchdown run by running back Joe Bergeron.
With Texas up 30-26, the Mountaineer offense needed to bounce back with points of their own. Dreamius Smith would get his first touchdown of the day, putting WVU back in front 33-30. The shootout would continue on the next Longhorn possession, capped off by a ten yard touchdown pass to Jackson Shipley, giving the Horns the lead back, 37-33.
The Mountaineers continued to fight. On their next possession, Millard and company led the offense to another touchdown. With seven minutes left, West Virginia would lead 40-37.
The Mountaineer defense that started to get worn down would make a big stop on the next Longhorn possession, forcing Texas to punt the ball. Millard and the offense got the ball back with just under six minutes left in the ball game. Sims would carry the ball for a West Virginia first down, but three short plays later the Mountaineers were forced to punt.
Nick O'Toole would only punt the ball 30 yards, giving Texas the ball at their own 36 with three minutes to play. The Longhorns would get a first down in three quick plays, moving the ball to midfield. The Mountaineer defense would not back down, as they would force Texas into a fourth down play with 59 seconds to go in the game. On fourth down, the Longhorns would convert on a pass from Case McCoy to Jackson Shipley. Malcolm Brown quickly got Texas in the red zone on a 27 yard carry to the WVU 11. The Longhorns would go back to Brown on two consecutive plays, pushing the ball to the WVU 7. On third down, the Mountaineer defense would force an incompletion by Case McCoy.
Anthony Fera would knot the game at 40 with 13 seconds remaining. The Mountaineers would be content to take a knee with seven seconds to go in regulation, and play overtime for a second straight week.
West Virginia won the toss, and elected to play defense first. The Longhorns would hand the ball off to Malcolm Brown on first down, but Jared Barber and Shaw Rowell held Brown to no gain. Texas would give the ball to Brown again on second down, and Jared Barber would make the tackle after a gain of six. Case McCoy would connect to Marcus Johnson for 14 yards to the WVU 5. Two consecutive runs by the Longhorns set up third-and-goal from the WVU 2. Texas quarterback Case McCoy would throw for his second touchdown of the day, and put the Longhorns ahead 47-40. The Mountaineers would need seven to stay alive.
On first down, West Virginia tried a jet sweep to Mario Alford. Alford gained 20 yards before being knocked out of bounds at the Texas 5. Sims would gain a yard on first-and-goal. Millard would attempt to hit Jordan Thompson in the end zone the very next play, but the ball was deflected and fell incomplete. Millard's pass would again be deflected again, this time intended for Kevin White. The Texas defense forced the Mountaineers into a do or die situation. On fourth-and-goal, Millard would be intercepted in the end zone, and the Mountaineers lose a heart breaker in overtime, 47-40 to the Longhorns.
A roller coaster of a season continues for the Mountaineers, and the loss will be a tough one to swallow. West Virginia was unable to finish the Longhorns off after gaining a 10-point lead late in the second half. Safety Darwin Cook was disappointed after the game.
"We didn't finish again," said Cook. "It's kind of been the story of our season."
Despite the result, Coach Holgorsen tried to remain positive.
"It's obviously a disappointing loss for our coaches and players," said Holgorsen. "I was proud of their effort and the way they fought, but we didn't get the result we wanted."
Backup quarterback Paul Millard finished the game 16-32 for 259 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Millard had this to say about the loss.
"We fought our balls off," said Millard. "I'm proud of my team for the way they fought."
The Mountaineers headed into the final two games of the season needing to win both in order to reach a bowl game. Nose tackle Shaq Rowell says that there is no doubt in his mind he and his teammates will reach a bowl game.
"I have no doubt that we're gonna win these last two games," said Rowell. "You can write this up and send it to the media everywhere, we're gonna win our last two games."
The Mountaineers head to Lawrence, Ks. next weekend to take on the Kansas Jayhawks. It remains to be seen whether Trickett will return or Millard will finish the season at quarterback. The Mountaineers may want to find a backup just in case.