AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Kennedy McCoy ran for two touchdowns and No. 11 West Virginia’s defense withstood a final pass attempt into the end zone to earn a tough 24-20 win over Texas on Saturday that kept alive the Mountaineers’ Big 12 championship hopes.
Skyler Howard passed for 269 yards and a touchdown for West Virginia (8-1, 5-1, No. 16 CFP), which allowed Texas running back D’Onta Foreman 167 yards rushing but kept him out of the end zone.
Texas’ last shot to win came on the final play when Longhorns (5-5, 3-4) quarterback Shane Buechele lobbed a pass high into the end zone but it floated too far and was incomplete. Game officials checked replay to see if West Virginia’s defense had too many players on the field but confirmed the play and the game was over.
The win sets up a big game next week at home for the Mountaineers against Big 12 leader Oklahoma. The Mountaineers have not yet won a league title since joining the Big 12 in 2012.
“They wanted to get this win pretty bad,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Our goal has always been to win the Big 12.”
Foreman’s 11th consecutive 100-yard game tied former Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell’s Texas school record.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers came in with the Big 12’s best defense and lived up to the billing. Most of Foreman’s yards came early and the Mountaineers pounded him and Buechele in the second half. The West Virginia offense had four turnovers, three by Howard, but the defense surrendered just seven points off those.
“They give (Foreman) the ball and ride him. We had to stop him and make others make plays. We did that,” said West Virginia linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton.
Texas: The pressure is back on coach Charlie Strong, who now has three consecutive five-loss seasons. Texas looked to be turning things around with big wins over Baylor and Texas Tech, but the numbers game is catching up to Strong, who is facing intense speculation that he could be fired. Texas is still trying to get bowl-eligible.
“I can worry about that, and I really don’t worry about that,” Strong said of his tenuous job status. “I have a really good group of guys and I know they are going to play for me.”
West Virginia: The Mountaineers return home next Saturday to host Big 12 leader Oklahoma in a game with huge implications for the league title.
Texas: The Longhorns go on the road to Kansas next Saturday.