- Created on Sunday, 07 October 2012 19:29
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by Travis Pulver
The Longhorns knew full well what they were getting into with the then No. 8 West Virginia Mountaineers coming to town Saturday night. West Virginia seems to almost score at will. Geno Smith doesn't know how to miss a receiver, and has yet to throw an interception all season.
Beating the Mountaineers would be a challenge, but it would also be a test that if the Longhorns could ace it would bring them one step closer to returning the program to a place of national prominence.
When the night was over Texas didn't ace the test, but in a way you could say they still passed even though they lost 48-45.
Texas quarterback David Ash threw for 269 yards along with one touchdown and running back Joe Bergeron had four touchdowns on the day to lead the offense, but the real story was how the defense fared against West Virginia’s high caliber passing attack.
In some respects the defense did well. They were able to hold Smith under 300 yards for the first time this season (25-35 for 268 yards) and sacked him four times. Smith had been averaging 432 yards a game and had only been sacked three times all season.
However, when the defense needed to come up big it had a hard time doing so. Five times West Virginia went for it on fourth down; they made it each time. Each conversion eventually led to WVU points going on the board.
What was surprising was the relative ease at which West Virginia was able to run the ball. The Longhorns were gouged by WVU’s Andrew for 207 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
''We knew it was going to be a dogfight,'' Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro said. ''It's frustrating and we left a lot on the table.''
In every loss there is a silver lining, and in this one it isn't hard to find. After being out of the national spotlight for a couple seasons the Longhorns performed well on a high profile stage. David Ash continued to show that he deserves to be the No. 1 QB completing 75.9 percent of his passes (although the missed snap late in the game did hurt).
While the defense is among the best at being opportunistic (first in the conference in tackles for a loss, second in sacks, and second in turnover margin), they were more of a middle of the road squad in total defense (seventh in conference). Holding Smith to the numbers that they did speaks volumes of the potential that they have yet to tap.
They will get a chance to tap that potential in the coming weeks with games against Oklahoma and then Baylor at home.