West Virginia (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) is one win away from punching their ticket to a late December bowl game, after holding off the Texas Longhorns (4-7, 2-6 Big 12) on Saturday in Morgantown.
Jarret Doege and the Mountaineers gained the upper hand early, finishing off a 75-yard opening drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to put WVU up 7-0.
Both teams struggled to get anything going on the next five drives, until Doege was able to strike again with a 14-yard touchdown completion to Winston Wright to extend the lead to 14-0 in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
Texas was unable to record a first down until midway through the second quarter, when the Longhorns finally broke through their struggles to put together a six play, 79-yard drive that was capped off with a 49-yard touchdown run by Keilan Robinson.
WVU extended the lead back to two scores on the ensuing drive, as Leddie Brown recorded his twelfth touchdown of the season on a 12 play, 82 yard drive.
The Longhorns would go on to narrow West Virginia’s lead on a 50-yard field goal by Cameron Dicker with just over a minute remaining in the half, sending the Mountaineers to the locker room up 21-10.
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian made a change at quarterback to start the second half, electing to go with freshman Hudson Card. After being forced to punt on their first drive of the half, Card found wide receiver Xavier Worthy on a deep ball for a 52 yard touchdown pass, putting the Longhorns within striking distance at 21-17.
West Virginia would respond again, this time on a seven yard strike to Sean Ryan to extend the lead back to 28-17.
The Longhorns refused to go away as the game crossed into the final quarter, as Card continued completing passes to set up a six yard touchdown run from Roschon Johnson. Texas would fail on an attempted two-point conversion, narrowing the score to 28-23.
The Mountaineers gave themselves a little cushion on the following drive, as they chewed up over five minutes of game time before settling for a 45-yard field goal by Casey Legg, growing the lead to 31-23.
Texas put themselves in position to potentially tie the game, getting just outside their red zone before Sean Mahone picked off a pass from Casey Thompson to ultimately secure the win for West Virginia.
Doege ended the day 24-of-43 (63%) passing for 290 yards and three touchdowns. Leddie Brown finished with 158 yards — his highest total since West Virignia’s win over Virginia Tech — and a touchdown on 33 carries. Tony Mathis added 23 yards on five carries.
Winston Wright was a perfect 6-of-6 on passes thrown his way, finishing with 67 yards and a touchdown. Sam James added 64 yards and a touchdown of his own on five receptions. Freshman Kaden Prather had a decent day, totaling 48 yards on 4 catches. Bryce Ford Wheaton finished with 58 yards on three catches before leaving the game with an injury.
West Virginia will travel to Lawrence, Kansas to take on the Kansas Jayhawks next Saturday. That game is scheduled to kick off at 7:00PM ET and will be broadcast on FS1.