"We emphasized [the run] so much I think we forgot Texas can pass the ball, too,'' nose guard Shaq Rowell said.
And when it came time to win the game in overtime, Texas threw it again. Marcus Johnson caught a 14-yard pass to convert third-and-4 and fullback Alex De La Torre caught the touchdown pass on third-and-2. Neither had caught a pass during regulation and De La Torre had touched the ball only once all season.
Then West Virginia, which had Paul Millard at quarterback from late in the first quarter when starter Clint Trickett was knocked out of the game, gained nothing on four plays from the 5-yard line. Mario Alford, who had a huge game, gained 20 yards on an end-around to start WVU's overtime possession, but then the Mountaineers went nowhere. Millard's fourth-down pass into the end zone had no chance and was intercepted.
It was enough to lead Holgorsen to refer to at least parts of West Virginia's passing game as "disgusting.''
That might not have been the worst part of WVU's offense, though. Trickett fumbled the ball even before he was hit on the play that knocked him out of the game -- Holgorsen later said Trickett "had his bell rung'' -- and then Millard turned it over twice on fumbles and twice on interceptions
Of those five turnovers, all but the interception in overtime came deep in WVU territory and all led to easy Texas scores, although three were just field goals. Texas's first four scoring "drives" covered 7, 27, minus-1 and minus-4 yards after turnovers. But then in the second half the Longhorns went 75, 67, 66 and 57 yards for their scores in regulation.
Texas outgained WVU 435-399 and overcame two turnovers and a blocked punt. McCoy passed for 283 yards but completed only 27 of 49 attempts. Millard was 16-of-32 for 259 yards. Charles Sims ran 24 times for 93 yards and caught five passes for 42. Alford had four catches for 97 yards, had the 20-yard run and 88 yards in kick returns, including a 43-yarder to set up a score.
Despite the second-half defensive issues, West Virginia still nearly won the game in regulation, having scored to go ahead 40-37 midway through the fourth quarter on a 72-yard pass from Millard to Alford, then holding Texas on downs. The Mountaineers got the ball back with 6:34 to play and a three-point lead, but couldn't run enough clock. Texas got the ball back with 2:35 to play after a poor 30-yard punt by Nick O'Toole. That's when the Longhorns started the drive on which they converted the fourth down and eventually tied the game.
Prior to that, West Virginia had scored on a safety when Jewone Snow blocked a punt through the end zone, on three Sims TD runs of 3, 6 and 1 yards, on an 8-yard run by Dreamius Smith and a 30-yard Josh Lambert field goal. Texas had scored on McCoy TD passes to Davis and Shipley, short runs by Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron and three earlier Fera field goals.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1