While the win came in West Virginia's first road game in the Big 12 and in front of the largest crowd ever to see it play, Smith insisted it was nothing out of the ordinary.
"It's just another win for us,'' said Smith, whose team figures to rise as many as three spots in each of the major polls this week after losses by higher-ranked Florida State, LSU and Georgia. "We can't get caught up in the emotion and we can't get caught up in the hype. It's a long season.''
The game actually came down to a bizarre series of plays midway through the fourth quarter that nearly turned the momentum and the game both ways.
First, leading 41-38, WVU's defense made a huge stop, getting a sack from Josh Francis and then a pass breakup on fourth down by Pat Miller to give the Mountaineers the ball and a chance for a two-score lead. But two plays later, Smith was hit and fumbled for the second time in the game, this one recovered by Texas at the WVU 12.
But the Longhorns couldn't take advantage. Facing third-and-6 at the WVU 8, quarterback David Ash didn't see a center snap coming, the ball went past him and Texas lost 16 yards. Then Anthony Fera, the Penn State transfer who was supposed to save the UT kicking game but missed four games with a groin pull, failed to tie the game. He missed a 41-yard field goal badly, leaving West Virginia with a three-point lead and the ball with 5:25 to play.
That's when Buie led the decisive drive, although one of the biggest plays was a 13-yard rocket of a pass from Smith to Bailey for 13 yards. It was the only pass of the drive, which ate 4:07 of the remaining 5:25 and gave WVU the cushion it needed.
"We had to get first downs,'' Holgorsen said of throwing a pass that essentially covered 40 yards across the field while trying to run the clock. "That's basically our four-minute drill. When we have to we throw it and complete it.''
That hectic final 10 minutes actually followed a rather sublime third quarter and part of the fourth. The teams simply traded possession and scores, although West Virginia's defense managed to hold Texas to a field goal once, which was huge. So when the Mountaineers drives went 69 and 76 yards and ended with touchdown passes from Smith to Bailey, the tradeoff gave the Mountaineers a 41-38 lead with just under 11 minutes to play.
That's when The WVU defense made a stop on Pat Miller's fourth-down pass breakup, but then Smith fumbled and it was hectic from there out.
And that followed a first half in which West Virginia actually seemed ready to put the game away a few times before a series of completely uncharacteristic mistakes -- many forced by the Texas defense -- undid the Mountaineers.
With just three minutes gone in the second quarter, West Virginia not only had a 21-7 lead, but all the momentum. Karl Joseph jarred the ball loose from Texas wideout Marquise Goodwin, Isaiah Bruce recovered and the Mountaineers had the ball at their 38 with a chance to drive for a 28-7 lead.
Instead, WVU self-destructed. A busted play lost four yards, a flea-flicker imploded and Smith was sacked for a 13-yard loss and soon West Virginia was punting from deep in its end.
Given all the punt problems in the first four games, West Virginia tried a new kicker. Bitancurt -- who earlier in the half had a field goal blocked when he didn't get it over the line -- attempted his first punt ever. It, too, was partially blocked and went just 26 yards.
In short, that just killed every bit of momentum. Texas scored three plays later after Johnathan Gray went 49 yards to set up the score to make it 21-14, then the WVU offense imploded again. On the next third down play, Smith was swarmed by the pass rush and fumbled at the goal line when he as stripped by Alex Okafor. Jackson Jeffcoat fell on it at the goal line and suddenly the score was tied at 21.
Bitancurt gave West Virginia the lead back at 24-21 with a 37-yard field goal, but Texas took its first lead with a 67-yard drive and a Bergeron TD to make it 28-24. The Mountaineers closed to within 28-27 on Bitancurt's end-of-half, 41-yard field goal after losing a chance to take the lead three plays earlier when Buie fell down after catching a pass from Smith with no one in front of him.
The first 18 minutes was pretty much all West Virginia. Smith threw touchdowns of 8 yards to Bailey and 40 to Bailey, the second on a fourth-and-4 play from the Texas 40 after the Longhorns had stopped a try by sacking Smith, but the play was wiped out because Texas had called time out from the sideline before the snap.
WVU's third touchdown came on a 4-yard run by Buie, who had 102 yards rushing by halftime.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.