LONGHORN FOOTBALL

 

Horns Battle Hard, Come up Short to West Virginia

courtesy of statesman.com

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Geno Smith passed for four touchdowns, leading No. 8 West Virginia to another wild shootout win in the Big 12, this time taking out No. 11 Texas 48-45 on Saturday night.

Smith, who has 24 touchdown passes this season without an interception, hit Stedman Bailey with a 6-yard score with 10:50 left to play. Andrew Buie ran for 207 yards and two touchdowns, the second coming giving the Mountaineers a critical 10-point lead late.

West Virginia (5-0, 2-0) didn't seal the win until recovering an onside kick with 14 seconds left after Texas scored a touchdown on a pass from David Ash to Marquise Goodwin.

Joe Bergeron scored four touchdowns, all on short runs, for Texas (4-1, 1-1), which is 2-7 at home in conference games the since 2010.

Smith was 25-of-35 passing for 268 yards in a game he had to be sharp. Texas' aggressive defense hit him early and often and forced a second quarter fumble that the Longhorns recovered for a touchdown.

But just as he did when West Virginia ran up 70 points on Baylor a week earlier, Smith made all the big throws when the Mountaineers needed them in a game where every possession was critical. West Virginia went 5 for 5 on fourth downs.

Buie was just as important to West Virginia's ability to carve up the Texas defense. He averaged 6.7 yards against a Texas defense that continues to struggle with tackling.

The Texas defense was aggressive with its pass rush and it gave the Longhorns a chance to win.

The fumble recovery for a touchdown sparked a first-half rally that brought Texas back from a 21-7 deficit to a 28-27 halftime lead. The Longhorns forced another fumble by Smith in the fourth. But Texas couldn't capitalize when an errant snap sailed past Ash, leading to a 16-yard loss before Anthony Fera missed a 41-yard field goal attempt that would have tied the score at 41-41.

Fera, who transferred from Penn State, missed the first four games with a groin injury.

Ash, the No. 2-rate passer in the nation behind Smith, was 22 of 29 for 269 yards and one touchdown.

Bergeron scored on runs of 2, 2, 1 and 4 yards. His last score gave Texas a 38-34 lead with 29 seconds left in the third quarter before Smith and Buie marched the Mountaineers right back down the field.

Smith threw touchdown passes of 8 yards to Bailey and 40 yards to Tavon Austin in the first quarter and West Virginia led 21-7 after Buie's first touchdown run.

Texas turned momentum and awoke the record home crowd of 101,851 when Alex Okafor sacked Smith and Jackson Jeffcoat recovered in the end zone to the tie the game. Bergeron's third touchdown of the first half put Texas ahead 28-27 at halftime.

Texas chewed up nine minutes on its first drive of the third quarter, moving to a 38-yard field goal by Fera. But Smith simply worker faster and West Virginia's drives resulted in touchdowns.

Smith's second touchdown pass to Bailey put the Mountaineers up 34-31 and the teams traded the lead two more times before it was all over.

 

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