Malcolm Brown starts a long run on the Horns final series in regulation.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Some figured Saturday night's Big 12 tilt between Texas and West Virginia would be a close game.
It was, and it took a historic ending for the Longhorns to walk away from it with a victory.
In the first ever overtime game in the Mack Brown era the Longhorns pulled out a 47-40 thriller over the Mountaineers. A crowd of 58,570 fans at Milan Puskar Stadium watched a Big 12 Conference shootout in it's purest form with seven lead changes on a chilly night.
The last of those lead changes came when a wide-open Alex De La Torre pulled in a two-yard touchdown pass from Case McCoy on the Longhorns' (7-2, 6-0 in the Big 12) first and only overtime possession.
West Virginia (4-6, 2-5) had a 1st-and-goal at the Texas five on its overtime series, but on 4th-and-goal at the four Steve Edmond intercepted Paul Millard's pass in the end zone to end the game. Edmond knocked Millard's pass into the end zone away on the previous play before making the theft to seal the win and allow Texas to keep pace with unbeaten Baylor in the Big 12 standings.
“We were very fortunate and came up big,” Mack Brown said of the overtime victory. “We had two really good plays. I've never been in an overtime fight like this.
“It was special. This was big-time. This was great.”
The Longhorns overcame injuries to two key starters to come away with the win. Chris Whaley was carted off of the field with left leg injury in the first quarter. Johnathan Gray ran for 56 yards on eight carries before leaving in the third quarter with a right lower leg injury.
Both players were on crutches during the game with Gray's right foot being put in a protective boot. Mack said after the game that Whaley walked up without crutches to congratulate the team after the win while Gray was said to be walking after the game as well.
Even without Whaley the Texas defense carried the day while the offense tried to get on track in the first half. All told the Longhorns forced five turnovers and sacked the West Virginia quarterbacks six time, including a first half sack that knocked starter Clint Trickett out of the game.
“We just knew we had to get pressure on these guys and disrupt them,” Jackson Jeffcoat said. “That's what we have to do as a defensive line and as a defense.”
The defense lifted the Longhorns early as the offense was unable to get anything going. Texas took a 10-9 lead on a two-yard touchdown run by Malcolm Brown early in the second quarter, but then the Mountaineers went to work and eventually took a 26-16 lead on the third rushing touchdown of the night by Charles Sims, this one from a yard out with 7:34 to go in the third quarter.
The Longhorns then scored 14 unanswered points with a 49-yard bomb from McCoy to Mike Davis and an eight-yard Joe Bergeron touchdown run that capped a seven-play, 67-yard drive to give Texas a 30-26 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The lead then changed hands three more times when the Longhorns faced a 4th-and-7 at the West Virginia 47. McCoy then connected with Shipley for a nine-yard completion just beyond the first down marker to keep the drive alive.
Anthony Fera ended the 12-play drive with his fourth field goal of the night, this one from 24 yards away that sent the game into overtime.
Shipley caught a game-high seven passes and led the Longhorns with 82 receiving yards. Malcolm Brown led all Longhorn rushers with 89 yards on 28 carries, which tied his career for rushes in a ball game.
Edmond was credited with a team-high 12 tackles. Edmond and Adrian Phillips each recorded an interception, the second of the year for both players.