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October 6, 2012

Buie leads Mountaineers over Texas 48-45




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In front of the largest crowd in Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium at 101,851, No. 7/8 West Virginia (5-0, 2-0) made a statement beating No. 9/11 Texas (4-1, 1-1) 48-45 in its first Big 12 Conference road game.

Senior quarterback Geno Smith went 25 for 35 on the night with four touchdowns and 268 yards.

West Virginia started fast against the Longhorns, as Tavon Austin put the Mountaineers in great field position after a 44-yard kickoff return on the opening kick. From the point it only took Smith and company five-plays to travel the remaining 54-yards and the drive was capped off by a Smith eight yard touchdown pass to Stedman Bailey to give the Mountaineers an early 7-0 lead.

Texas was able to quickly even the score up by moving the ball 83-yard in eight plays, aided by a 46-yard pass from Ash to running back Daje Johnson out of the backfield on a blown assignment by the Mountaineers defense. Bergeron was then able to punch the ball into the end zone from two-yards out to notch the score at 7-all with 9:22 left in the first quarter.

Austin struck again with a 67-yard kickoff return on the ensuing kickoff and the Mountaineers were back deep in Texas territory, but West Virginia was unable to capitalize after going three and out, Tyler Bitancurt's 42-yard field goal was blocked by Alex Okafor.

The Longhorns got the football back and were able to move the ball into West Virginia's side of the field to the Mountaineers 44-yard line but were unable to covert a fourth-down giving the defense a stop after the blocked field goal on the other end.

West Virginia was held on three downs, but went for it on fourth from midfield was able to get just enough with the legs of Andrew Buie to move the chains. The Texas defense forced the Mountaineers into another fourth-down from the 40 but Smith was able to connect with Austin across the middle where the senior weaved his way for an impressive 40-yard score to put West Virginia back out-front 14-7 with 1:55 left in the first quarter.

The Mountaineers held strong on Texas's next possession forcing their first three-and-out of the ballgame and giving the ball back to Smith and the offensive unit.

Facing yet another fourth-down on the drive, West Virginia was able to once again convert on a 4th and 9 on a flag pattern to Austin. Buie was able to gash the Longhorns defense for some big runs on the drive, and punched in a touchdown from four-yards out to place the score at 21-7 West Virginia with 12:22 left in the first half.

Marquise Goodwin took the ball back 48-yards on the ensuing kickoff to give the Longhorns the football around midfield. And a punishing hit by Karl Joseph on screen pass caused Goodwin to fumble the football and give the ball back to the offense.

But West Virginia was unable to capitalize losing 24-yards over the next three-plays including a Longhorns sack and then a 26-yard punt put Texas right back at midfield.

Then it was the Longhorns turn. On the Longhorns first play true freshman Jonathan Gray took the ball 49-yards on a handoff to inside the Mountaineers two-yard line. Bergeron punched the ball in two-plays later to cut the Mountaineers lead down to 21-14 with 8:45 left in the second quarter.

And the first turnover on Smith, a strip-back by Okafor coming off the edge that was pounced on by Jackson Jeffcoat for a touchdown evened the game up at 21-21 with 7:37 left in the first half.

Aided by personal foul for hands to the face on sack of Smith, The Mountaineers responded on the ensuing drive moving the ball deep into Texas territory on a pair of runs by Buie. However a potential, touchdown pass went off the hands of J.D. Woods and after another sack on Smith, Bitancurt connected on a 37-yard kick to put the Mountaineers back out front 24-21.

In an eerie resemblance to Syracuse a year ago, Texas took advantage of two huge plays to the tight end down the sideline on a wheel route to put the Longhorns back into scoring position and Bergeron scored his third touchdown of the game to give Texas their first lead of the game 28-24 with 1:14 left in the half.

West Virginia took the ball and move down into the Longhorns end of the field on a pass play to a wide open Buie for 22-yards but the sophomore tripped and hit the turf with nothing but green grass in front of him. Instead, West Virginia had to settle for a 41-yard field goal attempt from Bitancurt that was put through the uprights as time expired for a 28-27 halftime score.

At the half, Smith had thrown for 169-yards and two scores, but was sacked four times including the strip sack for the Longhorns touchdown. Buie busted out for 103 yards and a touchdown on the ground for the Mountaineers.

Texas took the opening possession of the second half deep into West Virginia's territory with a mix of rushing the football and screen passes including converting a fourth and 1 with a two-yard run. But the Mountaineers were able to hold and forced the Longhorns into a 38-yard field goal to push the advantage back out to four at 31-27 with 7:35 left in the third quarter. The drive covered 54-yards in 13-plays and ran 7:25 off the clock.

The West Virginia offense responded on their first possession of the second half starting with back-to-back eight yard receptions to Austin. After a Buie loss, Smith hit Buie on a 22-yard shifty catch and run on a screen play to keep the driving moving. Smith connected on his third touchdown pass of the night on a 9-yard toss to Bailey after the redshirt junior had beaten his man to the inside. After the Bitancurt PAT, West Virginia held a 34-31 lead with 4:32 left in the game.

A short kickoff gave the Longhorns a good return, and Texas once again was able to quickly move the football back on the Mountaineers side of the field. And after a personal foul penalty after Josh Francis had drawn a hold on third down, the Longhorns were able to once again cash in on Bergeron's fourth short touchdown of the game and regain the lead 38-34.

On the ensuing kickoff Bailey turned a near disaster when the ball slipped through the return team, into an almost touchdown when he was tackled by the ankles preventing a touchdown. West Virginia converted on yet another fourth down in the game on a pass to Austin that put the Mountaineers in business on the Texas side of the field.

Smith was able to convert yet another first-down on a sneak that he was able to turn into an eight yard play but his helmet was knocked off during the play. It didn't come back to hurt the Mountaineers, however, as backup Paul Millard handed the ball off. Smith then entered the game and connected with his fourth touchdown pass of the night on a six-yard pass to Bailey, his third of the night and West Virginia was back in front 41-38.

Ash connected on a 20-yard pass play to Jaxon Shipley on the first play of the next drive, and the Longhorns were marching the ball again on the plus side of the field.

On second and eight, Josh Francis was able to come in low and record a sack on Ash putting the Longhorns in a 3rdand 13 situation that was incomplete. And on fourth and 13, a pass from Ash was broken up by Pat Miller to give the Mountaineers a huge stop with 8:09 left to give the ball back to the offense at their own 39-yard line.

But after a holding penalty on first down, Okafor was able to get his hands on the ball before it left Smith's hands and the Longhorns recovered their second fumble of the night deep in West Virginia's territory.

However, on third and 6 the ball went through Ash's hands and the Mountaineers were able to wrap him up for a loss of 17-yards forcing Texas into a 41-yard field goal that sailed wide right to preserve the lead with 5:25 left on the clock.

The Mountaineers were able to control the clock in the last five minutes of the game. Smith picked up a crucial first down with a sideline pass to Bailey and on the next play Andrew Buie took a carry for 22 yards down to the Texas 25.

West Virginia appeared to have put the game away on a first down down run by Buie, going up 48-38. But the Longhorns would drive the field and bring the score to 48-45 with an eight yard pass from Ash to Goodwin.

The Mountaineers secured the win on the Texas onside kick attempt.



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