Game 9 - November 14, 2015 - vs Texas Longhorns
The Texas Longhorns are one of the most prominent and elite schools in college football. They claim four national championships (1963, 1969, 1970, and 2005) and like the Alabama Crimson Tide, can claim so many more.
The Longhorns hired Charlie Strong in 2014. Strong is a familiar foe for the Mountaineers. In 2011, the Louisville Cardinals stunned WVU in Morgantown during a 38-35 defeat. In 2014, Charlie Strong once again snatched a victory from the Mountaineers, winning 33-16 in Austin. This victory saw the Longhorn players lift Charlie Strong on their shoulders and crowdsurf him through the locker room. It was the second straight meeting that Charlie's players would lift him on their shoulders after defeating the Mountaineers.
The 2015 meeting between the Mountaineers and Longhorns was much different than previous years. For one, the Mountaineers had their best defense since joining the Big 12. Another one was they had possibly their most explosive offense since 2012.
The Mountaineers defeated Texas Tech in Morgantown on November 7, their first victory since defeating Maryland on September 26. A victory over Texas would give the Mountaineers two wins in a row and signal the end of the losing streak that plagued the Mountaineers in October.
Top Ten Plays
Top Ten Plays
The game would not start well for the Mountaineers. Five plays into the game, Skyler Howard would throw another conference interception. Luckily the defense would stand firm. After the defense forced a punt, the Texas defense forced a punt. Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard was able to lead the Longhorns to the first points of the game. Eight plays later the Longhorns had three points. The West Virginia offense would once again stall and Texas was driving, again.
Texas got cute and tried to catch the Mountaineers in desperation mode. Texas ran a reverse to running back D'Onta Foreman but he could not handle the ball. The ball fell out of his hands and hit the ground. Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski knocked the ball backwards with his left hand and middle linebacker Jared Barber picked the ball up and began running towards the endzone. Longhorns receiver Daje Johnson gave chase for Texas but Barber had enough of a headstart that he was able to score.
The fighting Charlie Strong's would not go away easily. Texas responded with a one-play 65 yard run by D'Onta Foreman. Finally the offense found its rhythm. Howard led a drive that ended with Elijah Wellman scoring from two yards out. The defense would force another Texas fumble on the following possession.
On WVU's last possession of the half, freshman Jovon Durante broke out of his funk and scored a touchdown. Skyler Howard dropped back and launched a 53 yard rainbow to Durante on 1st and 10 to give the Mountaineers a comfortable 21-10 lead going into halftime.
Skyler Howard ➡️ Jovon Durante.— Geoff Coyle (@GFCoyle) November 14, 2015
Touchdown #WVU pic.twitter.com/6xxFumNsJU
The Longhorns would open the second half with a touchdown. It was a 15 play drive that chewed up over 8 minutes of time. It was Charlie Strong's desire to shorten the game and reduce the amount of possessions for the Mountaineers. It did not work. After back to back punts, Skyler Howard found Daikel Shorts in the endzone for a touchdown. Texas fumbled the kickoff. WVU kicked a field goal to take a 31-17 lead and never looked back.
Texas wasn't built to come from behind and they certainly weren't going to pass on the 3-3-5. The players didn't forget the Charlie Strong crowdsurfing and weren't going to let Texas off the hook. The players picked Dana up and showed Texas that Mountaineers don't forget and hold a grudge.