The first half of play in WVU's Big 12 test against the Texas Longhorns didn't have nearly the wide-open feel that last week's Mountaineers win over Baylor. In particular, Geno Smith hasn't had nearly the easy time against Texas' defense, which has sacked him four times. But there has still been plenty of wild scoring, and at the half, the Longhorns lead, 28-27
WVU had a 14-7 lead after the first quarter, a quarter in which the Mountaineers seemed to be trying to establish the run game, despite the absence of Shawne Alston. They drove downfield at the start of the second quarter and did, in fact, get their run game going, as a couple of big runs by scatback Andrew Buie led to a four-yard Buie touchdown and a 21-7 lead. (By the end of the half, Buie had 103 yards rushing.) The Mountaineers also showed a bit of gamble by going for it -- and succeeding -- on 4th-and-9 at the Longhorns' 30-yard line.
After the touchdown, a fumble by Marquise Goodwin gave the Mountaineers the ball, but a sack proved costly as WVU was forced to punt. A 49-yard run by Jonathan Gray on the Longhorns' next play set up a quick Texas touchdown. Then, three plays into WVU's next drive, Alex Okafor sacked Smith yet again, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Jackson Jeffcoat for a game-tying touchdown.
West Virginia moved downfield in its next drive, thanks in part to a personal foul call on Ashton Dorsey. Desmond Jackson sacked Smith on third down at the Texas 19, though, and the Mountaineers were forced to settle for a Tyler Bitancurt field goal, giving WVU a 24-21 lead.
The Longhorns got the ball back with about five minutes remaining, though, and they weren't through. David Ash and the Texas offense cruised effortlessly downfield, with Ash completing 26-yard and 24-yard passes to wide-open receivers. The drive ended with a one-yard touchdown by Joe Bergeron, and Texas took a 28-24 lead.
That gave WVU the ball back with 1:14 to go, and guess what? They weren't done, either. Smith moved the ball effectively downfield, at one point hitting a wide-open Buie in the open field for what would have been an easy touchdown if Buie hadn't tripped. With nine seconds left on the clock, though, and the ball at the Texas 14, Dana Holgorsen for some reason decided to go for a run play, and the Mountaineers were called for a holding penalty. With no other choice left, they called in Bitancurt, who hit a 41-yard field goal to cut the Longhorns' advantage to a one-point lead that essentially means nothing at this point. At the half, it's anyone's game, and Texas leads 28-27.