WVSports - WVU bowled over by AM, 45-37
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WVU bowled over by AM, 45-37

MEMPHIS, TN -- West Virginia jumped out to an early lead but couldn't hold on falling to Texas A&M 45 to 37 in the 56th annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl Monday afternoon.
It was an up and down day for the West Virginia offense, who was able to spring several big plays and roll up over 472 yards of total yards but failed to capitalize in key situations. The Mountaineers led 17-7 in the first quarter, but were outscored 38-20 over the remainder of the game.
Sophomore Skyler Howard also was up and down in his second start making several impressive throws, but also overshooting his wide receivers on multiple occasions finishing 20-45 for 346 yards and three scores.
The Mountaineers struggled to run the football at times, managing 123 yards while the Aggies controlled the line of scrimmage accounting for almost 250 yards rushing. True freshman quarterback Kyle Allen threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns, while he also made several plays with his legs to extend plays.
West Virginia allowed Texas A&M to convert on 6 of their 15 third down attempts, while the Mountaineers managed to convert on 5-19 attempts.
Texas A&M got the first crack on offense but the Mountaineers were able to force the Aggies into a three and out, including a punishing hit from Kyle Rose on a third and short run. West Virginia would take over at their own seven yard line but would return the favor unable to record a first down giving the ball back to the Aggies at the Mountaineers 44-yard line.
On the next play, the West Virginia secondary would bust their coverage in the backend allowing Josh Reynolds to get free and take a 44-yard pass from Allen into the end zone to put the Aggies up 7-0 with 11:55 left to play in the first quarter.
West Virginia would move the football into Texas A&M territory on the next drive with a 22-yard pass to Jordan Thompson and on fourth and one was aided by a pass interference penalty to set the ball at the 28-yard line. And facing a third and 17, the Mountaineers were aided once again by penalty this time a targeting call on Howard Matthews, who by rule was ejected from the game.
Josh Lambert would open up the scoring for West Virginia with a 32-yard field goal to put the game at 7-3 with 7:49 left in the first quarter. The Mountaineers defense forced their second three and out of the game on the ensuing possession giving West Virginia the ball back at the 42-yard line after another personal foul penalty against the Aggies.
West Virginia would waste little time retaking the lead with Howard connecting with Mario Alford on a 44-yard screen pass where the wide receiver would use his speed down the sideline to take into the end zone and put the Mountaineers ahead 10-7 with 5:12 left in the first quarter.
On the next A&M possession, Allen would gift wrap an interception into the arms of KJ Dillon, who returned the ball to the house giving West Virginia a 17-7 lead.
Texas A&M would answer the call on their next drive by stringing together multiple first downs and with the Mountaineers forcing a fourth down and five Allen was able to hit a wide open Trey Williams from the 40-yards out down the middle of the field for a walk in touchdown to put the score at 17-14 with 1:28 left in the first quarter.
West Virginia would continue to have success offensively on their next drive moving the ball on six play 66 yard drive, including a 43-yard pass to Thompson that was capped off with a 40-yard Lambert field goal as the first quarter clock expired to put the score at 20-14.
Allen would continue to heat up on the next drive, connecting on his first four passes to put the Aggies at the West Virginia 11-yard line and from there he would hit Malcome Kennedy on the slant to put Texas A&M back out front 21-20 with 12:35 left.
A penalty on the touchdown celebration allowed Alford to return the ball to the 48-yard line putting the Mountaineers in good position to start their next possession. Kevin White would make his impact on the game on the next play from scrimmage, as the senior wide receiver got loose down the sidelines for tear drop 49-yard touchdown pass to put the Mountaineers back out front 27-21.
The scoring streak would finally be snapped on the next possession as West Virginia was able to make a stop on a short third down run to give them the football back at their own 17-yard line. Howard would engineer the Mountaineers toward midfield, converting on multiple third downs. The drive would be extended once again after a roughing the passer penalty but a holding penalty and a sack would force the Mountaineers to punt back to the Aggies.
West Virginia would get the stop but a roughing the punter penalty extended the drive and it would result in a 14-yard touchdown run by Allen to give the Aggies a 28-27 lead with 53-seconds left in the second quarter. Alford would bust another 50-yard return but the Mountaineers would be unable to capitalize heading into the half down a point.
On the first possession of the second half, West Virginia would open at their own 34-yard line but were unable to convert a first down and were forced to punt. Texas A&M would cash in on the poor punt, moving the ball deep into West Virginia territory on a Tra Carson run before settling for a 26-yard field goal attempt to put the game at 31-27.
After another three and out, Texas A&M took over at the 46-yard line after another poor punt by O'Toole and the Aggies would cash in again with a Williams touchdown scamper to put them ahead 38-27 with 7:44 left in the third quarter.
White would respond for West Virginia on the following drive with a 45-yard catch down the field, setting up the Mountaineers at the at the 21-yard line but the offense was unable to go any further and had to settle for a 38-yard field goal. For Texas A&M however, another penalty would extend the drive, setting the Mountaineers up at the 11-yard line. But West Virginia would lose a yard on the next three plays and be forced to put the kicking team back on the field for a Lambert 31-yard field goal attempt to cut the score to 38-30.
However, the West Virginia defense would be unable to hold on the next possession as the Aggies marched down the field for another touchdown this time a nine yard toss from Allen to Malcome Kennedy to give the Aggies their biggest lead of the game at 45-30.
The Mountaineers would move the ball into Texas A&M territory multiple times in the fourth quarter but mistakes would continue to plague West Virginia as they were unable to capitalize with any points until late in the ball game when Elijah Wellman caught a touchdown pass to cut the score to 45-37 with 2:32 left.
West Virginia would hold the Aggies to third down on the ensuing possession only to give up a 21-yard pass to effectively run off the remainder of the clock.