West Virginia had two chances in the red zone during the fourth quarter but could not convert in a 17-13 loss on the road against Texas on Saturday.
The Mountaineers (4-3, 3-3 Big 12) played solid defense all day against one of the nation’s most prolific offenses led by quarterback Sam Ehlinger. The senior quarterback finished the day 15-of-31 with 184 yards and two touchdown passes.
Texas (5-2, 4-2) started the day moving the ball right down the field on the first possession, capped off by a touchdown catch from Ehlinger to junior receiver Brennan Eagles to go up 7-0.
WVU responded right away, going 75 yards in nine plays with junior running back Leddie Brown finishing the drive with a 12-yard run up the middle to tie the game.
Longhorns’ kicker Cameron Dicker gave Texas the lead five seconds into the second quarter with a 34-yard field goal to make the score 10-7. Both teams would remain scoreless for the rest of the half.
The first possession of the second half saw the Mountaineers eat up almost five minutes of clock and go 66 yards before sophomore Casey Legg kicked a 25-yard field goal to tie the game again. Legg played his first full game after starting kicker Evan Staley announced he would be out for the season.
It only took Texas two and a half minutes to retake the lead. Ehlinger threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Jake Smith with 7:31 remaining in the third quarter.
Legg cut the lead to four with a 34-yard field goal in the final minute of the third quarter, and the defenses dominated the rest of the way.
The Mountaineer offense had opportunities in the fourth quarter to take the lead but could not convert either of them. With 11:24 remaining in the game, WVU quarterback Jarret Doege threw a pass to the endzone on fourth and one at the Texas 16, but the ball could not be hauled in by tight end Mike O’Laughlin.
On the next possession for WVU, it was fourth and one once again at the Texas eight-yard line, but Doege threw another incomplete pass and the Longhorns were able to run the clock out on the next possession.
Doege finished 35-of-50 for 317 yards. Brown had a quiet day as he carried the ball 15 times but only picked up 47 yards with one touchdown.
The top targets for Doege on the day were junior Isaiah Esdale and sophomore Bryce Ford-Wheaton, who each caught six passes had 60 and 55 yards, respectively. Senior T.J. Simmons had four catches for 71 yards.
Senior Tony Fields II led the Mountaineer defense with 12 total tackles in the game. The Stills brothers were quiet with only four total tackles combined.
WVU will be back home to face TCU next Saturday. The time and telecast are yet to be determined.