Turnovers doomed West Virginia in Saturday’s 42-31 loss to No.11 Texas, but after the game, head coach Neal Brown said starting quarterback Austin Kendall isn’t the player to blame.
“I think quarterbacks get too much credit when things go well, and they get too much blame when things don’t go well, but we didn’t lose that game because of Austin Kendall,” Brown said. “I’ll tell you that.”
The redshirt junior threw four interceptions in the loss, which led to 21 Longhorn points, but Brown said three of those interceptions were catchable balls. West Virginia’s receivers just didn’t make the plays.
Kendall also threw for three touchdowns, ran for another and logged a career-high 367 yards through the air. Even with the turnovers, Brown thinks this was Kendall’s best performance of the season.
“I’ve got a pretty good eye out on the field, and I thought the kid played well,” Brown said. “I thought he played his best game. You’re gonna say, ‘hey, he threw four picks.’ I realize he threw four picks. But at the same time, on three of those, we had a chance to make plays. We didn’t make them.”
West Virginia’s offense out-gained Texas 463-427 on the day, even though it ran 13 fewer plays than its opponent.
The Mountaineers hung with the Longhorns well into the third quarter, trailing by as few as four points in that period following a Keith Washington interception of Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger and an ensuing Evan Staley field goal.
“We were in the game offensively because of him, so I’m not down on that kid one bit,” Brown said.
But things unraveled quickly in the fourth quarter, as Kendall threw two interceptions inside WVU territory in the span of about a minute, allowing Texas to balloon a four-point edge into an 18-point cushion.
Still, Brown believes those final interceptions were the fault of WVU receivers.
“It’s a one-on-one game, and we lost some of those, and some of that’s on us as coaches,” Brown said. “We gotta do a better job of putting our guys in positions where they can be successful.”