AUSTIN, Texas -- With the eyes of both Texas and a nation on it, West Virginia's football team Saturday night proved that it was human.
And it still didn't matter.
Yes, Geno Smith was sacked and harassed. Yes, the Mountaineers turned the ball over for the first time all season. And no, neither Smith nor the team put up the type of eye-popping offensive numbers of the first four games.
And yet they still came away not only with another win, but a signature victory in their first Big 12 road game. This, the Mountaineers are proving, is a pretty good all-around football team.
Smith threw for just 268 yards but tossed four touchdowns, Andrew Buie and the West Virginia running game was simply overpowering and the Mountaineers went for five fourth downs and made them all, leading No. 8 West Virginia to a 48-45 win over No. 11 Texas Saturday night.
In front of a national television audience and the largest crowd (101,851) to ever see a game at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Buie ran for 207 yards on 31 carries, caught three passes for 66 yards and stunned Texas with his ability to gain big chunks of yardage.
The Longhorns knew that could happen with Smith, but not Buie.
"I was hoping that would be the case,'' West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said about the way his team ran the football against the Longhorns. "We were committed to the run and there weren't any tricks, either. We felt like that would be the difference and alleviate some of the pressure from Geno.''
Well, it did take some of the pressure off of Smith, but it took a while. In the first half he was sacked three times, fumbled the ball away on the goal line for a touchdown and was generally more pressured than at any time this season.
Yet he finished his night 25-of-35 for 268 yards and still hasn't thrown an interception (his TD-to-pick ratio is now 24-0). That's far from his 45-for-51, 465-yard performance a week earlier against Baylor, and he was also sacked four times.
Again, though, it didn't matter. He threw three touchdowns to Stedman Bailey and a fourth to Tavon Austin and that was plenty. He threw darts on each of his scoring throws, as well as on a key pass in the game-clinching scoring drive in the fourth quarter.
Austin caught 10 passes for 102 yards and Bailey eight for 75.
Smith insisted the pressure wasn't as bad as it looked at times.
"Maryland followed the same formula,'' said Smith, insisting that the Texas rush was nothing he hadn't seen before. "Now, the two times I dropped the ball, those were very costly turnovers. If it hadn't been for those, the game probably would have been very different.''
Indeed, it might have been a blowout, given that West Virginia led 21-7 at one point before the pocket problems started and other than the two fumbles the Mountaineers were seldom stopped. Consider that not including the final 14 seconds of the game, WVU had the ball 12 times and scored six touchdowns and two field goals. Besides the fumbles, the only other possessions ended in one punt and one missed field goal.
But the bottom line is that here's the stat no one could have foreseen: West Virginia outgained Texas on the ground, 193-135, while Texas had a yard more through the air, 269-268.
And on the final drive that mattered, the one when West Virginia clinched the game by going 76 yards ti take a 48-38 lead with 78 seconds to play, Buie was magnificent, gaining huge chunks of yardage. He scored on a 5-yard run with 1:18 to play to make the score 48-38.
"I knew we had to run the ball and I knew I'd be running it,'' Buie said. "But I didn't know it would be  times.''
Texas drove quickly for a touchdown with 15 seconds to play to make the score 48-45, but WVU freshman Nana Kyeremeh recovered the onside kick and the game was over.