Heading into Saturday afternoon’s much anticipated matchup between West Virginia and Texas, Mountaineer quarterback Austin Kendall had been focused on continually striving to increase his production on a weekly basis in his first season as a starting college quarterback.
While Kendall’s four interceptions in the 42-31 Texas win may have seen his production take a steep decline, many around the building remained optimistic of the junior quarterback.
“That’s the best game he’s played without watching it on tape,” head coach Neal Brown said following the game. “The first interception he threw was his fault he read the wrong guy, the next two were in the receiver’s hands and the third one we had a guy run the wrong route.”
The lone interception that can be solely pinned on Kendall was when he missed deep and the ball fell into the hands of Texas linebacker Ayodele Adeoye, who returned it to the West Virginia 27-yard line.
Texas’ D’Shawn Jamison snatched two balls out of the air from Kendall in the third and fourth quarters and B.J. Foster snatched an interception between Jamison’s, accounting for all four on the day.
Kendall said it is important to move on after a mistake.
“It’s just one play in the game, you’ve got to erase what’s going on, you learn from it and move on and you build on it,” said Kendall.
Kendall had only combined for three interceptions prior to taking on the Longhorns: a pair of interceptions to Missouri and a lone interception against NC State.
Even in the midst of a four-interception performance, the West Virginia offense was able to move the ball effectively and score points against a strong Texas defense.
“It just shows we’re not going to back down, Coach Brown was just telling us ‘we’re a good team, offensively, we don’t click sometimes but we were actually rolling today’,” Kendall said.
Kendall finished the day completing 31 of 46 passes and totaling 367 yards through the air.
“I think he’s getting better every week, he’s a kid, you can tell it’s been awhile since he’s played football and every week he gets a little bit better,” offensive coordinator Matt Moore said.
Kendall has increased his passing percentage every single week, beginning with a 64.3% completion rate against James Madison which jumped up to 67.6% completion rate at Kansas two weeks ago.
Walking up the tunnel after the game, senior left tackle Colton McKivitz put his arm around Kendall and let him know that, no matter what, the team is behind him.
“Austin’s my guy, I’ve been behind him ever since spring ball since he first got here so anything I could do to help him know that we’re going to be behind him no matter what, you have bad games as a player,” McKivitz said.