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West Virginia Outlasts Texas in Home Finale

The West Virginia football team was able to secure a win in their final home game of the season on Saturday, outlasting Texas 31-23.

The Mountaineers (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) controlled the ball for much of the game. They had possession for 38 minutes as opposed to the Longhorns (4-7, 2-6 Big 12) 21 minutes time. West Virginia was able to capitalize in their passing game, as the team threw for 301 yards with three different scores coming through the air.

The play that sealed the West Virginia victory came with two minutes left in the game when senior safety Sean Mahone stepped in front of a Texas quarterback Casey Thompson pass across the middle of the field for the Mountaineer interception. Mahone returned the pick 28 yards to the West Virginia 34-yard line before the offense ran the ball, forcing a last gasp for Texas that was unsuccessful.

The day began with a bang for the West Virginia offense, after they got the ball into the end zone on a 20-yard connection between senior quarterback Jarret Doege and redshirt junior receiver Sam James. The Mountaineers drove down the field on nine plays and found the end zone on Doege’s sixth completion of the drive.  

West Virginia got on the board again on the opening drive of the second quarter as Doege threw his second touchdown on the afternoon to junior receiver Winston Wright Jr. in the back-right corner of the end zone, which gave a 14-0 advantage.

This scoring drive saw Doege find redshirt junior Bryce Ford-Wheaton for a pretty 31-yard over the shoulder grab to move the ball to the Texas 46-yard line. Doege then hit redshirt junior Isaiah Esdale for an 18-yard completion to help set up the touchdown.

Texas finally got on the scoreboard seven minutes into the second half when Texas running back Keilan Robinson rushed in from 49 yards out seemingly untouched to cut the Longhorns deficit to seven points.

Leddie Brown rushed into the end zone from two yards out, reclaiming two-touchdown edge on the ensuing Mountaineer drive. The scoring drive saw Brown keep the ball on seven snaps for 20 yards on the ground before the touchdown.

Texas kicker Cameron Dicker was able to cut the margin a bit before halftime on a 50-yard field goal with a little over a minute remaining before heading to the locker room. Another Johnson rush for 19 yards helped set up the score.

West Virginia redshirt junior kicker Casey Legg also attempted a field goal right before halftime from 48 yards out, but the kick sailed wide right, keeping the score at 21-10 going into the break.

Texas continued to cut into the deficit following halftime, when Longhorn quarterback Hudson Card found receiver Xavier Worthy down the right sideline for a 52-yard bomb and a touchdown. The scoring pass quieted Mountaineer crowd and cut the Texas deficit to four points.

The Mountaineers responded on the very next drive, with Doege throwing to junior receiver Sean Ryan for a seven-yard touchdown strike. The drive included a Brown 26-yard rush to move the ball to the Texas 38-yard line as well as an 18-yard rush on the very next snap.

Texas running back Roschon Johnson brought the Longhorns within striking distance again in the beginning of the fourth quarter after a six-yard rushing touchdown made it a 28-23 ballgame with 12 minutes left in regulation. Keilan Robinson helped move the ball on the drive on a 25-yard rush to move the ball to the 20-yard line.

Following another long West Virginia drive of five minutes and 14 plays, Legg came on to try another field goal, this time nailing it through the uprights for the 45-yard converted field goal and the 31-23 advantage.

West Virginia will now hit the road for their final regular matchup of the season at Kansas next Saturday at 7 p.m. with televising on FS1.

Photo by Bryan Dougherty, Blue Gold Sports

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