It did not appear as if it was going to be an easy day for these Longhorns. West Virginia opened the game strong, marched down the field thanks to a couple of bonehead penalties by the Longhorns, and scored via a 44-yard touchdown pass by Austin Kendall. The lack of discipline on the Texas side of the ball is truly what made this game as close as it ended up being, but the strong offense and ability to force turnovers is what allowed Texas to come away with a 42-31 win. In a match-up where the Longhorns defense forced four interceptions, the Mountaineers were never able to get into a groove on offense and will now fall to 3-2 on the season.
Best Offensive Play
Tom Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck certainly have a pocketful of trick plays to keep the defense off balance, but this one was by far one of the more successful that I've seen them use in a while. (Not to mention, this is very fun to watch on repeat) Texas had the ball in the red zone on first down. Ehlinger took the snap, scrambled a little to the right and threw the ball back across the field to Samuel Cosmi. The 300-pound offensive lineman caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage and took it 12-yards to the house to put Texas up 34-17 early in the fourth quarter.
Best Defensive Play
Arguably, this could be the defensive play of the year. D'Shawn Jamison had to dive backwards, fully extend his body, and rip the ball down with one hand. Texas was only up 21-14 at the time, so this also came at a good time as West Virginia was beginning to move the ball into Texas territory.
Here is a second look at the acrobatic catch by the young defensive back:
Yeah, D’Shawn Jamison is good at football. pic.twitter.com/FxyKmel4Jb— HornSports (@HornSports) October 6, 2019
Worst Defensive Play
I usually don't like to knit pick a defensive performance down to one play, but the job by defensive back Chris Brown in one particular circumstance defined what was wrong with the Texas defense yesterday. Austin Kendall threw about a 10-yard pass to a receiver and rather than attempting to wrap-up and make the tackle, Brown went in for the kill shot. He tried to make a big highlight hit, ended up missing the tackle, and this turned into a 44-yard play and eventually points for West Virginia. This came after B.J. Foster was penalized twice and nearly ejected from the game for making similar hits. The lack of discipline and inability to wrap up on this play helped put West Virginia right back in this game.
One Main Concern
With the group of young guys that Texas has, it is only normal that they show some growing pains. Luckily for the Longhorns, these growth issues did not affect the outcome of their first true road game of the season. However, the Longhorns cannot continue to make the same thoughtless mistakes on a weekly basis. Texas was flagged 10 times for 89 yards, 7 more total penalties than West Virginia. Texas had already been called for 6 of these penalties, including a few personal fouls in the first half. Texas will play the most highly anticipated game on their schedule on their schedule next week when they travel to Dallas to take on Oklahoma. If the Longhorns want to come out of Dallas with a win, they must start by avoiding giving opposing offenses free yards.
Player of the Game
Earlier this week, Roschon Johnson essentially said to the public that he did not care what position he played, as long as he could help out this team. Johnson, initially a quarterback, has taken the reigns as the back-up running back this year behind Keaontay Ingram due to injuries to the Texas backfield. During yesterday's game, Ingram was sidelined early in the game and guess who stepped up during his time away from the field? Roschon Johnson did. The redshirt freshman carried the ball 21 times for 121 yards and although he didn't find the end-zone or make a play that we'll see all on the highlight reels, Johnson was yesterday's player of the game. The youngster's lack of selfishness is truly helping this Texas team get to where they want to be.
Here is the quote I was referencing from Roschon earlier this week:
The "Beat OU!" chants broke out in Morgantown last night as the Texas players walked off the field following their first Big 12 road win of the season. Aside from the one interception that was thrown into triple-coverage, Sam Ehlinger played a good game. He was not perfect, but certainly good enough to help Texas get past West Virginia. Missed tackles, careless penalties, special team's issues, turnovers, and missed coverages: all aspects of the game that Texas struggled with this weekend. There were certainly signs of light for Texas, as going on the road and beating an in-conference opponent is never an easy task, but the Longhorns have a lot to work on if they expect to take down the Sooners next weekend at the Cotton Bowl.