Texas visits West Virginia on Saturday for what will be the first football trip to Morgantown for in school history.
The programs likely have just barely recovered from the last time they met:
Oct. 6, 2012: West Virginia 48, Texas 45.
Geno Smith, widely regarded as a Heisman Trophy favorite at the time, threw four touchdown passes. The loss was the first of the season for Texas after four victories.
The Longhorns led 38-34 after three quarters. Then Smith, the nation’s top-rated passer at the time, led West Virginia on a pair of 76-yard touchdown drives.
The first drive was completed with a 6-yard pass to Stedman Bailey, the star receiver’s third touchdown of the game. The second drive was finished with a 5-yard run by Andrew Buie with 1:18 left in the game. That one gave West Virginia a 48-38 lead. Buie tore up the Longhorns for 207 yards on 31 carries.
The Longhorns scored with 15 seconds remaining on an 8-yard pass from David Ash to Marquise Goodwin. Ash completed 22 of 29 for 269 yards without an interception. He had only the one touchdown to Goodwin, but Joe Bergeron made four touchdown runs, all from 4 yards or closer.
Defensive end Alex Okafor had a big game for the Longhorns, forcing two fumbles, one that was recovered by end Jackson Jeffcoat for a touchdown.
But with the play clock winding down on third-and-six from the West Virginia 8, center Dominic Espinosa snapped the ball to Ash in the shotgun formation when the quarterback apparently wasn’t ready for it. The ball sailed by him, and Ash recovered it for a 16-yard loss.
Ash took the blame, saying he let too much time elapse on the play block.
An Ash sighting: Ash will miss his fifth straight game on Saturday because of recurring concussion symptoms. But he did turn up at practice Tuesday wearing shorts and a T-shirt, Mack Brown said.
“He threw the ball, ran around some,” Brown said. “He is not going through drills. He would be ready to return to practice next Tuesday if by doing these activities, noting recurs. He and the doctors and trainers will determine whether he’s available for the last three games.”
QB? No thanks: Junior free safety Mykkele Thompson was recruited as a multi-position “athlete,” by Texas. But despite receiving multiple honors as a quarterback at San Antonio Stevens High School, Thompson said he does not miss the position.
“Definitely not,” Thompson said. “That’s too much pressure for me.”
Thompson has struggled at times at safety, a position he did not play much in high school. For one thing, he was not accustomed to hitting people.
“I need to clean up my tackling,” Thompson said. “That’s the most important area.”
Thompson took a bad angle that enabled Iowa State to score a 97-yard touchdown on a pass play, so he knows there also is pressure at safety — often the last line of defense.
“That’s always a very scary moment, when a guy’s running full head of steam at you and you have to take him down,” Thompson said. “That’s pretty nerve-wracking.”