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No. 11 Texas uses four INTs to push past West Virginia

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No. 11 Texas arrived in Morgantown a beat up team, especially in the secondary. The Longhorns played Saturday without starting corner Jalen Green, starting safety Caden Sterns and top-reserve safeties Josh Thompson and DeMarvion Overshown, with starting nickel back BJ Foster returning from an injury of his own.

And, considering all those circumstances, Saturday went nearly perfect for the Longhorns as they intercepted West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall four times, turning three into touchdowns, to secure a 42-31 win.

The first pick came from linebacker Ayodele Adeoye, who stepped in front of a Kendall pass with the Longhorns trailing 7-0 in the first quarter. His 13-yard return set Texas up at the WVU 27, and Sam Ehlinger cashed in on a 22-yard touchdown toss to Malcolm Epps.

West Virginia (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) then nudged ahead with a 5-play, 60-yard touchdown drive, keyed by a 44-yard completion from Kendall to TJ Simmons and capped by a 1-yard Kendall keeper. Texas then pulled even with a 13-yard touchdown toss to John Burt and then, with 3:28 left in the first half, took the lead for good on a 13-yard Ehlinger keeper.

With the score still 21-14 late in the third quarter, West Virginia’s defense got in on the action when Keith Washington, Jr. picked an Ehlinger pass and raced it 34 yards to the Texas 29-yard line which, when combined with a 15-yard personal foul on Texas, gave WVU the ball at the 14. Unlike Texas, though, the Mountaineers did not turn a pick into six, this time settling for a 29-yard Evan Staley field goal with 1:59 left in the third quarter.

That’s when the Texas secondary took over, nabbing interceptions on consecutive drives to break the game open.

The first was by Foster, who bumped a WVU receiver out of the way and snared the ball off a deflection, giving Texas the ball at the WVU 18. Devin Duvernay, who led the ‘Horns with six grabs for 86 yards, pushed the lead to 28-17 with a 13-yard touchdown run on a handoff out of the backfield.

Now in true desperation territory, Kendall tossed his fourth pick of the day and his second to cornerback D'Shawn Jamison, who returned the ball to the WVU 33.

Texas (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) put the game away for good with this made-to-go-viral play call.

Kendall added two cosmetic scores with the game in hand, finishing the day 31-of-46 for 367 yards with three touchdowns and four crucial interceptions.

With Keontay Ingram battling a stinger, Roschon Johnson carried the Texas running game, rushing a game-high 21 times for 121 yards. Ehlinger had a pedestrian game by his standards, hitting 18-of-33 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns with one interception while adding nine carries for 45 yards and two touchdowns, the last coming with 3:03 to play to ice the game for good.

No. 11 Texas locked in a tussle with West Virginia

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After a back-and-forth first half, No. 11 Texas holds a 21-14 over West Virginia at the break in Morgantown.

West Virginia accepted the ball to open the game and, with the help of two 15-yard penalties on the visitors, rolled 76 yards in four plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 44-yard toss from Austin Kendall to Sam James.

Texas moved into WVU territory on its first chance, but Cameron Dicker‘s 42-yard field goal was no good. However, the Longhorns did not suffer for it as Ayodele Adeoye intercepted Kendall on his first pass after the touchdown, and Sam Ehlinger hit Malcolm Epps for a 22-yard equalizer.

After an exchange of four punts, West Virginia regained the lead on a 1-yard Kendall keeper, a play set up by a 44-yard pitch-and-catch to TJ Simmons.

Texas again answered, moving 69 yards in 11 plays to tie the game at 14-14 on a 13-yard strike from Ehlinger to John Burt. When Evan Staley kicked wide of the same goal post Dicker missed in the first period, Texas took its first lead on a 13-yard Ehlinger keeper at the 3:28 mark of the second quarter.

Taking over with more than 200 seconds and two timeouts in his arsenal, Neal Brown opted to churn clock on his final possession of the half, forcing only a 46-yard Staley field goal, which again was wide right.

Ehlinger completed the half 13-of-21 for 176 yards while rushing five times for 26 yards. Keaontay Ingram left the game with an apparent shoulder injury in the first quarter, so converted quarterback Roschon Johnson led Texas with 53 yards on nine carries.

Kendall completed 15-of-18 passes for 163 yards with a score and a pick, while Kennedy McKoy added 32 yards on four carries.

Texas will receive to open the second half.

Texas rolling on both sides of the ball against Missouri in the Texas Bowl

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The last time Texas appeared in the Texas Bowl, things didn’t go well at all for the Longhorns.

Three years and a new coaching staff later, there’s a much different story to tell as the Burnt Orange took a 21-7 lead over old Big 12 rival Missouri going into halftime on Wednesday night.

In contrast to a few of the team’s games during the regular season, Texas head coach Tom Herman got plenty of production out of both sides of the ball. Offensively the team went with Shane Buechele as the starter at quarterback but both he and backup Sam Ehlinger found success against the Tigers defense. The two combined for 117 yards and a touchdown pass each, the first coming from Buechele to a wide open Daniel Young out of the backfield for a 22 yard score. Ehlinger didn’t have things quite as easy as that but did find John Burt from seven yards out as the wideout made a great catch to get six.

Young also added XX yards on the ground as the featured back.

The Longhorns defense also came to play despite being without a host of starters. Linebacker Anthony Wheeler recovered a fumble and ran it back 38 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead in the second quarter and Davante Davis also forced another fumble to cap off another stand for Todd Orlando’s unit. Ray Guy Award winner Michael Dickson showed why he was the best punter in college football with seven punts and six of them landing inside the opposing 20.

Mizzou looked like they were without offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, who was not with the team for the game after taking the UCF head coaching position. The Tigers started the game with three 3-and-outs and had five overall in the half — failing to record a first down until just before the start of the second quarter. Running back Ish Witter did run for 44 yards and a touchdown but fumbled, and quarterback Drew Lock didn’t look anything like the record-setter he was during the regular season with just 91 yards passing.

There’s still plenty of time left for both teams in the Texas Bowl but it’s pretty clear that the former Big 12 team has a little more work cut out for them than the current one.

Big 12 upset brewing in Austin? Longhorns tied 7-7 with Oklahoma State at half

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Don’t hit the upset alarm just yet, but No. 10 Oklahoma State is in a bit of a defensive battle on the road against the Texas Longhorns. After one half of play, the Cowboys and Longhorns are knotted at seven points apiece to set the stage for an interesting second half of play in Austin.

J.D. King gave Oklahoma State a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a seven-yard touchdown run. It came on Oklahoma State’s third possession of the game and at the end of a 96-yard drive. The next time the Cowboys had the football, another long drive for points was stalled when Justice Hill lost a fumble at the Texas 14-yard line. The Longhorns capitalized on the turnover by orchestrating a quick three-play 86-yard touchdown drive. Sam Ehlinger completed a 90-yard pass to John Burt on a 2nd and 16 and then Ehlinger took it in himself from two yards out on the next play to tie the game at 7-7.

No. 20 OU holds slight lead over Texas despite mistake-filled first half

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A mistake-filled first half has resulted in No. 20 Oklahoma out-gaining Texas by 251 yards but leading the ‘Horns just 14-13 through one half in Dallas.

After entering the season one of a handful of teams without an interception, Texas snagged two in the first quarter. The first came after Malcolm Roach hit tight end Mark Andrews, forcing the ball to ping-pong into the arms of safety Dylan Haines. The Longhorns did not capitalize on the score, but did snag another pick on the next possession when Haines caught a wide open pass thanks to one of the most obvious no-calls of the entire season.

Haines’ return set up Trent Domingue for a 33-yard field goal at the 5:21 mark of the first quarter.

Continuing the theme of capitalizing on mistakes, Oklahoma forced a fumble by D'Onta Foreman deep in his own territory, and three plays and 16 yards later Oklahoma had a 7-3 lead.

Texas answered with its only sustained drive of the half, an 8-play, 66-yard march capped by a one-yard Foreman run to give Texas a 10-7 edge 39 seconds into the second quarter. True freshman Shane Buechele struggled for most of the half — partly due to inaccuracy, partly exacerbated by poor protection — and never was that more obvious than on the ‘Horns next possession when, after a Joe Mixon fumble, he missed a wide open John Burt that would have staked Texas to a 17-7 lead.

Instead, Oklahoma struck next with a long score of its own, a 71-yard rainbow — the longest completion OU’s ever had against Texas — from Mayfield to Dede Westbrook, putting the Sooners back in front 14-10 with 4:02 to play in the half.

Texas closed the half with an 18-play, 64-yard drive ending in another Domingue field goal as time expired.

Oklahoma has gained 281 yards to UT’s 130, led by Samaje Perine‘s 11 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. Mayfield has connected on 12-of-20 throws for 157 yards with a score and two picks.

Buechele has hit only 9-of-21 passes for 79 yards, and Foreman has been limited to 32 yards on 12 carries.

Texas, it’s worth noting, is 0-13 under Charlie Strong when trailing at the half.