It was a game the Mountaineers should have won.
WVU arrived in Austin ready to play a one dimensional Texas team that was 4-5 and looking to scratch and claw its way to a bowl birth. This wasn’t your normal Longhorn team.
The Mountaineer coaching staff knew Texas would run the football. They knew the quarterback couldn’t beat them with his arm, but they also knew that Texas would be hungry and fight until the gun sounded.
Then West Virginia stepped off the bus and it was over.
“It was Football 101 in the first half,” WVU head football coach Dana Holgorsen said. “They blocked better. They ran the ball between the tackles.”
WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson wasn’t happy with his units performance in the half.
“We came out sluggish and couldn’t stop the run. That’s 100% on me,” Gibson said. “They controlled the line of scrimmage and did what they wanted to do.”
“They were just better than us today.”
Gibson and his defensive staff deserve credit for making the right adjustments at halftime.
In the first half of play, Texas had 266-yards of offense while being held to on 85-yards in the second half.
The improved play didn’t make Gibson’s day any better.
“We decided to play,” he said. “In the first half we would have been better sitting on the bus.”
“It wasn’t a big secret what they were going to do. They was going to get in double tight end sets, got big backs and try to pound us, and they did it.” Gibson said.
While Gibson and his unit made improvements, the offense was still missing in action.
Everyone knew it would be difficult bouncing back from the TCU loss and the Mountaineers couldn’t afford to allow the Horn Frogs to beat them twice.
“The first half was a good old-fashioned butt kicking on all three sides of the ball,” Holgorsen said. “We got out coached, got out played and did not play good.”
We often hear from the offense staff that they didn’t forget how to call plays and run offense, but it was a 60 minute struggle on this day.
“We weren’t ready to play and that’s on me.” Holgorsen said.
Although Texas was limited in the second half, the Mountaineers offense could never get anything going due to mental mistakes, false starts and the lack of offensive rhythm.
“We weren’t ready to play,” Holgorsen said. “We wanted it to be easy, and it was hard. Wanted it to be easy, and it was really hard.”
West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett was held without a touchdown pass for the first time this season, but did finish up 36 of 49 for 248 yards.
This game was about an offense unit that wasted scoring drives, turned the football over and took a safety late in the football game. They never had any flow or momentum during the game.
While the team struggled, Texas did what West Virginia thought they would do.
Rush for 227-yards behind Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown.
West Virginia now has a much needed bye week before Kansas State comes to town.