MORGANTOWN - In an apparent taunt to the weather, some Texas Longhorn players spent much of warm-ups shirtless on a chilly November night at Milan Puskar Stadium. It was supposed to be a message.
It appeared to be something else, though. WVU had UT, as it has had others this season. It appeared Texas, undefeated at 5-0 in Big 12 play, was going to be undressed by the homestanding Mountaineers before 58,570 and a Fox television audience.
In the end, however, it was WVU that was once again exposed, losing 47-40 in overtime.
Heading into the game, there were a few keys for WVU. First, it had to protect starting quarterback Clint Trickett. Texas was susceptible to the run, but had 48 hurries heading into the game.
In that regard, the Mountaineers woefully failed. By halftime, Texas had six sacks. Trickett was knocked out before the end of the first quarter. At times he looked like a rag doll.
Second, WVU had to stick to the ground. That was a toughie, considering the aforementioned pass rush, most of which was with a four-man rush.
But the stats heading into the game showed that if you got past that UT front, there was daylight. The Longhorns were ranked No. 90 nationally in run defense heading into the game.
It proved to make sense. Although WVU had minus-12 yards at the end of the first quarter, tailback Charles Sims had 93 yards and three touchdowns at game's end. Dreamius Smith had 24 and another score.
Next, the Mountaineers had to hold up against a UT backfield loaded with five-star backs. The hosts did that very well. At game's end, the Longhorns had but 152 rushing yards on a whopping 41 carries.
Also, it seemed Texas was susceptible to a long special teams return. And nice returns WVU had, posting 81 yards on kickoff returns from Wendell Smallwood and 88 from Mario Alford.
But the final Mountaineer goal, the most important one, was not reached. That was to rattle Longhorn quarterback Case McCoy.
He was not spectacular on Saturday night. He never is.