MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia began by celebrating Senior Day but Texas ended the game celebrating bowl-eligibility with a 28-14 victory at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Will Grier’s dislocated finger factored heavily as the Mountaineers (7-4, 5-3) were eliminated from Big 12 championship contention. Texas (6-5, 5-3) won in Morgantown for the second time in three trips, thanks to a 233-56 rushing edge.
Recapping the live updates throughout the game:
— Texas outgained West Virginia 420-295.
— WVU substitute quarterback Chris Chugunov finished 14-of-26 passing for 189 yards with one touchdown.
— Daniel Young ran 12 times for 85 yards and Texas averaged 5.5 yards per carry overall.
— Sam Ehlinger’s final numbers: 12-of-19 for 136 yards, two TDs and the pick-six.
— Justin Crawford gained 64 yards on 15 attempts, while WVU averaged 1.9 per carry thanks to sacks.
— Chugunov had completions of 10 yards to Jennings and 19 to Simms before P.J. Locke’s sack created a fumble that WVU recovered for an 11-yard loss. WVU punted on fourth-and-32 with less than 3 minutes left.
— TURNOVER: After WVU started at its 4-yard line, Chugunov had a chance to strike deep but underthrew Gary Jennings on the go route. Malcolm Roach’s third-down sack dislodged the ball and Texas recovered at the WVU 6.
— An onside kick failed but West Virginia’s defense stoned Texas for three plays to force a punt.
TOUCHDOWN: Ka’Raun White 12-yard pass from Chris Chugunov (9:01) Texas leads 21-14
An eventful drive saw Texas defensive end Breckyn Hager ejected for targeting Chugunov on a third-and-9 completion to David Sills. Then White pulled in a sliding 30-yard catch that also withstood a review. Finally, Chugunov went back to White on a fourth-and-5 slant for the score. (Drive: 8 plays, 76 yards in 3:41)
— Texas went away from the run game, throwing incomplete on third-and-3. Punt time.
— Thanks to a 32-yard sideline catch by Marcus Simms, WVU reached the Texas 24. It had a potential touchdown dialed up on a wide-open wheel route to Gary Jennings, but Texas linebacker Gary Johnson pressured Chugunov into an overthrow. On fourth-and-9, WVU passed on the field-goal attempt and Chugunov had another end zone shot at Jennings again, only to see DeShon Elliott tip away the pass.
TOUCHDOWN: Kyle Porter 10-yard run (1:23) Texas leads 21-7
Texas struck fast, with Daniel Young ripping off a 36-yarder and Porter running it in one play later. The Longhorns are averaging 6.7 per carry. (Drive: 2 plays, 46 yards in 0:38)
— The Mountaineers, pinned at their 15, went three-and-out with two stuffed runs and an incomplete screen pass.
— WVU’s defense yielded one first down before forcing a punt.
TOUCHDOWN: Kenny Robinson 94-yard interception return (5:29) Texas leads 14-7
Sam Ehlinger’s heroic day took a brutal turn. On first-and-goal from the 5 he threw a blind pass that Robinson plucked in the flat and ran back for a score (WVU’s first points in more than four quarters). Take the sack and Texas probably kicks a field goal to go up 17-0; instead, the freshman’s attempt to save a few yards got the Mountaineers back in the game. It was shades of Ehlinger’s bad decision in OT against Oklahoma State.
— Chugunov got WVU across midfield by hitting Jennings with a 19-yarder on third-and-5. Then came a holding call against pulling guard Kyle Bosch and Chugunov’s next third-and-long sideline pass to Ka’Raun White was jarred incomplete by jason Hall.
— Two Ehlinger completions netted only 3 yards as WVU forced a quick punt to open the second half.
— Texas has outgained WVU 250-127, most of that by Ehlinger. He’s 8-of-10 for 111 yards, has six times for 46 yards and owns a 23-yard catch.
— Chugunov is 4-of-8 for 27 yards in relief of Grier (dislocated finger), whose day ended at 6-of-8 for 50 yards.
— Texas is 4-of-9 on third downs, despite facing more than 8 yards to gain on those possession downs. WVU is 2-of-8 converting third-down tires.
— Texas started from its 39 with 1:25 left but couldn’t add to the lead
— Gary Jennings turned a short pass from Chugunov into an 11-yard gain, but Sills dropped a third-down throw and WVU punted after using only 58 seconds.
TOUCHDOWN: Chris Warren 20-yard pass from Sam Ehlinger (2:29) Texas leads 14-0
Warren was only playing tight end today because Cody Brewer injured himself this week. He fell out of his stance for an illegal procedure flag before the scoring catch, a play-action strike on which safety Toyous Avery was late arriving and then missed a tackle. Ehlinger kept the drive alive with a third-and-9 scramble for 17 yards and later caught a 23-yard throwback pass from Jerrod Heard. (Drive: 10 plays, 87 yards in 5:25)
— WVU moved the chains on Crawford’s third-and-1 run but followed up with a delay-of-game penalty. Chugunov was 1-of-3, including a deep miss for Sills and a batted-down pass at the line.
TOUCHDOWN: Kendall Moore 4-yard pass from Ehlinger (10:55) Texas leads 7-0
The tight end Moore made 14 catches in three-plus seasons at Syracuse. The graduate transfer’s first catch at Texas went for a score on third-and-goal, with cornerback Mike Daniels whiffing on a tackle at the 3. Three plays earlier, Ehlinger converted a fourth-and-2 keeper for 7 yards in the red zone. That followed a third-and-4 deep pass to Reggie Hemphill that went for 50. (Drive: 11 plays, 91 yards in 5:25)
— WVU went three-and-out with Chris Chugunov making his first appearance.
— Texas went three-and-out with Sam Ehlinger making his first appearance.
— INJURY ALERT: Will Grier suffered an ugly-looking dislocated finger diving for the pylon at the end of an 82-yard drive. The injury not only affected his throwing hand, but the ball came loose inches shy of the goal line and caromed out of bounds for a Texas touchback. Crawford’s 10-yard touchdown two plays earlier was overturned (appropriately) by replay and his second-down lunge came up short, leading to Grier’s third-down keeper. Grier was 6-of-8 for 50 yards at the time of his exit, including a 34-yarder to Sills.
— Texas had its own case of the dropsies, with John Burt’s bobble leading to a three-and-out.
— Starting at its 5 after a holding flag on the punt, Crawford popped a 13-yard run. One of Grier’s patented third-down extensions preceded a 30-yard laser that Ka’Raun White dropped near midfield. The play could’ve gone for much more. Billy Kinney subsequently shanked at 22-yard punt
— A Texas first down was wiped out by offensive pass interference, leading to a first-and-24 hole. The Longhorns nearly climbed out of it before punting in fourth-and-2 from their 44.
— WVU opened with a three-and-out.
— After missing the last two games, linebacker Xavier Preston is back in uniform today for WVU with his right leg heavily wrapped.
— Tom Herman makes his first trip to Morgantown, though several key starters came here in 2015. He reasoned that the rain and noon kickoff “should sterilize the environment a little bit,” possibly curtailing the hillbilly/moonshine factor.
“We’ve been in some hostile environments,” Herman said. “Ames, Iowa, is no joke on a Thursday night and the (Los Angeles) Coliseum on a Saturday night is no joke ether.”
— Still in the mix for a Big 12 championship berth, West Virginia needs to win out AND have TCU and Oklahoma State each lose once over the next two weeks.
— Statistical point of order: West Virginia is 27-25 all-time in Big 12 games, while Texas is 28-24 in league games since WVU joined. Now rewind your brain to 2012, and tell yourself, “WVU can match the Longhorns’ record over the next six years.” That would’ve sounded pretty sweet, right?
— Thousands viewed “The Sweet Spot with A.T.” podcast this week, while others went the iTunes and Google Play path. We packed a lot into those 50 minutes.
— Friday’s Gold & Blue Lunch Report offered final-score predictions for today’s spate of college games. Here are our WVU-Texas picks: