MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Texas center Taylor Doyle blamed West Virginia defenders for barking the snap count after his premature shotgun snap foiled the Longhorns’ first series.
Facing third-and-4 on West Virgina’s side of midfield, the snap surprised quarterback Jerrod Heard, who fell on the fumble for a 4-yard loss.
“It’s supposed to be a penalty,” Doyle said, “but we have to continue to play through whatever environment there is.”
Play-caller Jay Norvell backed Doyle’s assertion that the Mountaineers were simulating the snap count.
Nwachukwu hat-trick: Though West Virginia couldn’t solve the Texas run game, defensive end Noble Nwachukwu piled up three sacks in the game’s final 10 minutes. The biggest one thwarted a first-and-goal at the 9, when Nwachukwu dropped Heard for a 6-yard loss and Texas ultimately salvaged only a field goal.
Gray injured again: Johnathan Gray’s second visit to Morgantown paralleled his first—a strong start tainted by a injury. A former five-star prospect who’s now a senior, he gained 56 yards on 14 carries before leaving in Saturday’s third quarter with an ankle injury.
In the 2013 game, Gray carried eight times for 56 yards before his promising career was derailed by a torn Achilles tendon. Some around the Texas program contend Gray has never regained his full burst after that injury.
Wellman surges across: Elijah Wellman made his first carry of 2015 on the Texas goal line and punched in a 1-yard touchdown.
“I haven’t minded blocking at all—that’s my job and that’s what I’m going to do,” he said. “But if they throw me in there to get a few carries per game, I’m not going to complain about that either.”
Wellman had two career receiving touchdowns.
Kickoff strip for Kyeremeh: Reserve cornerback Nana Kyeremeh forced his first career fumble, poking the ball away from Texas kick returner Kris Boyd.
“My coach said squeeze the return and make sure nothing gets outside of you,” Kyeremeh said. “So I saw (Boyd) trying to break it back across so I kept him inside and kept my head on the ball. … It’s all about effort, flying down there and making a play.”
First strike: In two seasons under Strong, Texas had gone 10-1 when scoring first. Add a second ‘L’ after this one, however. At least the Longhorns actually managed early points, after having been outscored 51-0 in the first quarter of three previous road losses.
Last word: Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls after the Longhorns slipped to 4-6:
“This is a bad football team that’s ingenious at finding new and creative ways to lose. A missed extra point. A botched punt snap. Total no-shows. And in the 10th game of Texas’ season, penalties galore and turnovers to match from a team that had been plus-9 in turnover margin.”