AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns were still mad about losing to Texas Tech last week, so the plan was to take out their anger on the next team they played.
Enter, West Virginia.
“Last week was a slap in the face to us because we didn’t feel like we played to the best of our ability,” Longhorns linebacker Jaylan Ford said after the 38-20 win over the Mountaineers. “Especially going in there feeling like you should have won … it hurts more than just losing a game outright. Everyone had a chip on their shoulder and played with an edge.”
West Virginia entered the game averaging 217.5 rushing yards per game and was coming off a dominating performance against Virginia Tech. The Longhorns held the Mountaineers to just 61 rushing yards on 30 carries, and for the most part, kept the West Virginia passing attack in check. Quarterback JT Daniels threw for 253 yards and just one touchdown. He attempted 48 passes, the most he has all season, and that was certainly influenced by the inability to run against the stout Texas front seven.
Ford said the defensive line played great, and that’s why he was able to make a team-high 14 tackles including seven unassisted stops.
“Those are my guys,” he said. “Without them, the linebackers don’t have success. If I make a tackle, it’s because of them and they’re doing their job. No one is selfish on this team.”
Texas raced out to a 28-7 halftime lead thanks in large part to efficient offensive performance, but the defense didn’t allow the Mountaineers to score until their last drive of the first half. And even then, it took a long time for the Mountaineers to score, so while the offense kept piling up points, the defense didn’t allow explosive plays. West Virginia had just one play for more than 20 yards, a 32-yard pass play from Daniels to Bryce Ford-Wheaton in the third quarter when Texas already had a 35-7 lead.
Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson rushed for 101 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown, and he felt the team played with an attitude, too.
“That loss last week hurt,” he said. “It was good to see us come out the way we did after that.”
Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian echoed Robinson’s sentiments in the postgame press conference.
“Defensively, we were getting off the field in the first half and we played complementary football,” he said. “Jaylan Ford was very active, and Barryn Sorrell was getting after the quarterback. I thought our coverage, our corners tied together much better this week. I thought for the most part when the game was in question we were making critical stops.”
West Virginia was put into third-down situations 18 times and converted nine of them, and the Mountaineers also converted three fourth-downs in five tries. Those didn’t have the same impact as they did against Texas Tech because the defense didn’t allow a bunch of those conversions consecutively.
“I thought we did a better job of working cohesively in the back end and the front end to allow some of the pressure because we were tighter in coverage,” he said.