Sam James (13) and Leddie Brown (4) celebrate a touchdown in the first quarter against Texas Nov. 20, 2021, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.

Sam James (13) and Leddie Brown (4) celebrate a touchdown in the first quarter against Texas Nov. 20, 2021, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.

West Virginia relied on a strong run game and solid defense to defeat the Texas Longhorns Saturday, 31-23. 

Leddie Brown led the way offensively for the Mountaineers with 33 carries for over 150 rushing yards and a touchdown.

The first half was near perfection for both the offense and defense of West Virginia (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) on Saturday. The offense started with the ball and quickly moved down the field then Jarrett Doege found Sam James over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown pass. 

The Mountaineer defense paired well with the offense as it forced four consecutive three-and-outs. 

On West Virginia’s fourth drive of the first half, the offense put its foot back on the gas. The drive, West Virginia moved 80 yards over the span of 11 plays. Winston Wright Jr. caught a 14-yard touchdown pass to end the drive. 

Texas (4-7, 2-6 Big 12)finally got on the board after a six-play 79 yard touchdown drive. The biggest play of the drive and half for Texas came as running back Keilan Robinson found a hole in the defense and ran 49 yards to the endzone. 

West Virginia answered right back with an 82-yard drive that ended with Brown’s first touchdown of the game, bringing the score to 21-7. 

Texas put together a solid final drive of the first half and set up Cameron Dicker with a 50-yard field goal to close the Mountaineer lead to 21-10. 

The Longhorns left just over a minute on the clock after the field goal drive and WVU looked to take advantage. West Virginia moved 44 yards down the field while taking just one minute off the clock and Casey Legg set up for a 48-yard field goal but pushed it right. 

Doege finished the first half completing 20-28 for 238 yards and two touchdowns while only being sacked once. The sack came on a trick play that involved multiple lateral passes. 

Texas quarterback Casey Thompson finished the first half with just four completions and 29 yards. Quarterback Hudson Card started the second half for the Longhorns but struggled in his first drive, moving just 20 yards before being forced to punt. 

Card’s second drive was much more successful as the redshirt freshman converted on two third downs then connected with Xavier Worthy on a 52-yard touchdown pass. 

On the ensuing Mountaineer possession, the offensive line opened up massive holes for Brown who rushed for 51 yards on the drive. After Brown set the offense up in the redzone, Doege found Sean Ryan in the back of the endzone to extend the lead to 28-17. 

The Longhorns quickly answered with a scoring drive of their own. Texas relied heavily on the run game for the score as Robinson and Roschon Johnson combined for 41 rushing yards and a touchdown. 

West Virginia took possession with a five point lead after the Longhorns failed to convert a two-point attempt. The offense took five minutes off the clock as it marched to the Texas 28-yard line where WVU settled for a field goal that gave the team an eight-point lead. 

At the 3:46 mark, Texas faced a long fourth down while trailing by eight deep in West Virginia territory.

Much like it has in WVU’s big wins this season, the defense came up strong when it mattered most. Sean Mahone intercepted the fourth down pass to seal the win for WVU.

Texas had one final opportunity with under a minute remaining in the game, but once again the WVU defense stopped the fourth down conversion.