Texas take a huuuuuge win in Morgantown to the tune of 28-14. The Longhorns improve to 3-2 on the road (far cry from last three seasons) and 6-5 on the year. Here are my take aways from the upset in Morgantown.
– Texas controlled both lines of scrimmage
Texas’ offensive line showed up! Big shout out to Connor Williams for that, who absolutely ate up the defensive end and protected the QBs blindside. He and Derek Kerstetter setting an example for what competent tackle play looks like, allowed whoever was in the backfield an actual pocket and some time. West Virginia having to balance their resources across the line (even when Patrick Vahe went down) gave guys who have struggled (like the entire interior) a little breathing room. Thus, the run game flourished and with that the pass game did as well. All around great performance from the tackles.
And of course, the 2017 Texas defensive line did 2017 Texas defensive line things. A strip sack to help Texas ice the game, holding Justin Crawford to 64 yards, and forcing both Will Grier and Chris Chugunov to feel uncomfortable outside the pocket. The targeting foul against Breckyn Hager was a bit of a rough call (to put it mildly), but the defensive line flies around and make the offensive line pay, which allows the rest of the defense to fly around and wreck havoc.
– Sam Ehlinger won the starting job
To be fair, he’s done this like… thrice already this season. It’s just that things happen when Sam is in the backfield. He uses his feet to make the defense fear him. This allows him to either bring the defense up for a pass over their heads or actually make them pay with his feet by breaking off first down run and then some. Now he is still a true freshman, so he’s subject to some Heroball. Thus, the big pick six. It took him a series to settle down, but he was off to the races after that and ended off the game 12/19 with 136 yards, 2 TDs, and that bad INT.
– The defense let up 7 points
Yes, Will Grier went down, and that changed the game dramatically, but Texas stopped him from scoring and then shut down any hope West Virginia had at getting back into the game. DeShon Elliott saved a touchdown and should be an All-American. The defensive line was mosterous late in the game and in making sure the run game for WVU stayed under 100 yards. While the pass game did get loose for the Mountaineers 5 different times, Texas made huge play after huge play to hold the Mountaineers to their worst offensive performance this year. Bravo.
– Texas has 236 yards rushing
That is not a stat I would have imagined going into Morgantown. However, Texas’ offensive gameplan did a wonderful job of using the misdirection to pin the undersized WVU defense into some less than comfortable positions. As I said above, this has a lot to do with the guys up front and Connor Williams making a huge impact. However, the runningbacks also deserve some praise. Daniel Young not only took advantage of the counter game and misdirection in the backfield, but when he got free down field he picked up 20-yard gains. 12 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. Whether it was flipping into the endzone to ice the game or trucking an undersized defensive lineman, Daniel Young cemented his place as the starting running back. Sam Ehlinger went 9 for 68 yards and got Texas out of some hairy situations when the plays broke down. Even Kyle Porter looked good with 53 yards!
– The season isn’t over
This one is nice because after loses to Oklahoma State or TCU, many fans were saying that 5 or 6 wins was the ceiling for this team while I held fast I thought Texas could go 3-1 in the last 4 games. Texas now has a legit shot at an eight-win season after stealing this win in Morgantown. Now as I always say, the season isn’t over. Texas must still beat Texas Tech on Black Friday, which has proved harder than it should in years past, and then take home some hardware… But hey, they have a shot at some hardware after missing out the past two seasons. That’s a good feeling.
This will get allllll the cowgirls wet pic.twitter.com/XT3qIsVGTV
— Barstool Hook 'em (@UTBarstool) November 18, 2017