AUSTIN, Texas—Despite mounting a comeback effort in the final seconds, Texas (5-5, 3-4) fell to West Virginia (8-1, 5-1), 24-20, in its first home loss of the season on Saturday afternoon.
Prolific junior running back D'Onta Foreman continued to make his case to Heisman voters as he powered for 168 yards on 35 carries. His performance marks the 11th straight time he's surpassed the century mark, tying Earl Campbell's school record for most consecutive 100-yard games.
Senior safety Dylan Haines notched two interceptions in a game for the second time this season. The first came against Oklahoma in early October.
Texas jumped to an early three-point lead after electing to receive the opening kickoff. With the Longhorns positioned at the Texas 36-yard, quarterback Shane Buechele connected with wide receiver Collin Johnson for a 29-yard pass to reach West Virginia territory. From there, the Longhorns advanced to the Mountaineers' 10-yard line to set up a field goal from kicker Trent Domingue.
West Virginia responded with a field goal to even the score at three apiece. A crucial sack from freshman Malcolm Roach on third down halted the Mountaineer's quest for a touchdown, leaving the Mountaineers to settle for three. With his third sack of the season, Roach is now tied at 10th for all-time sacks by a freshman at Texas.
On the next drive, the Mountaineers recovered a Texas fumble to gain possession on the Longhorns' 18-yard line. Two plays later, defensive back Kris Boyd ripped the ball out of the hands of West Virginia running back Justin Crawford to take back possession for the Longhorns. The Longhorns were unable to capitalize on the turnover, however, and punted.
West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard relied heavily on the passing game to guide the Mountaineers into the red zone. Eight yards removed from a touchdown, West Virginia running back Kennedy McCoy rushed into the end zone to lengthen the Mountaineers' lead to 10-3 at the end of the first quarter.
The Mountaineers struck again to begin the second quarter. Howard found receiver Ka'Raun White for a 29-yard touchdown pass, putting the Mountaineers ahead by two scores at 17-3.
Texas countered with a touchdown drive five minutes later. With the Longhorns sitting at midfield, Foreman broke free for a 32-yard run to advance to the West Virginia 18-yard line. Two plays later, freshman quarterback Shane Buechele faked a handoff to Foreman before tucking the ball and sprinting into the right corner of the end zone for a touchdown, bringing the Longhorns to within seven.
The Texas defense made quick work of the Mountaineers on the next drive, forcing West Virginia to punt on fourth down. The Longhorns then embarked on a nearly seven minute-long drive that swallowed the remaining time in the half. The offense methodically marched downfield before running out of downs at the West Virginia two-yard line. The field goal unit entered the game to tack on three points, making the score 17-13, West Virginia, going into the half.
The Mountaineers received the kickoff to start the second half, but cornerback P.J. Locke III quickly intercepted the third pass of the drive to reclaim the ball for Texas. The Longhorns advanced to the West Virginia 20-yard line before preparing to kick another field goal. This time, however, the kick was blocked, and the Mountaineers took over to drive for a touchdown. The score lengthened the Longhorn deficit to 24-13.
The next few drives provided a rollercoaster of turnovers. West Virginia intercepted the ball to halt Texas' progress, but senior safety Dylan Haines caught a Skyler Howard pass in the end zone to hand the ball back to the Longhorn offense. The momentum swing propelled the Longhorns downfield to the West Virginia 20-yard line. Buechele then fired to wide receiver Collin Johnson, who shook off one defender and found only open real estate in front of him. The touchdown from Johnson made the score 24-20, West Virginia.
Haines intercepted the ball again on the ensuing drive, but the Longhorns were unable to convert the turnover into points before time expired in the third quarter.
The Texas defense forced the Mountaineers to punt in each of their three possessions of the fourth quarter. With 1:39 left in the game, neither team had been able to find the end zone and the Longhorns still trailed by four. Facing a third-and-two on their own 47-yard line, the Mountaineers attempted to run the ball for the remaining two yards. But the Texas defense remained stout, and the Mountaineers punted the ball back to the Longhorns.
As the seconds ticked down, the Longhorns converted a series of first downs to advance as far as the West Virginia 27-yard line. But the comeback effort fell short as time expired, leaving the scoreboard unchanged.
The Longhorns travel to Lawrence, Kan., next weekend to take on the Kansas Jayhawks in the hopes of attaining bowl eligibility. Kickoff will either be at 11 a.m. or 2:30 p.m.
(© 2017 KVUE)