After the frenzy of last night's win had even Dana Holgorsen forgetting his team had a pair of turnovers, I felt the need to go back and look at those fourth down conversions.
West Virginia went 5-for-5 against Texas, which is really quite remarkable considering the stress that puts on a defense having to worry a step beyond three-and-outs.
Consider that bravado a hallmark of this team, now ranked No. 5 in the AP Top-25 poll, and in the conversation for the national title.
1. Fourth-and-2 at the Texas 48: The game is tied 7-7 in the first quarter, and after a 42-yard field goal attempt was blocked on the last fourth down, West Virginia goes for it. Andrew Buie rushes over the left tackle for two yards for a first down. The play stands after an official review. Five plays later we have the next conversion.
2. Fourth-and-4 at the Texas 40: The receivers are spread five-wide and Geno Smith is sacked as he drops to pass. But…officials rule a Texas timeout had been called before the snap. When the timeout ends, West Virginia lines up the same and goes for it again, this time Smith hits Tavon Austin for a 40-yard catch and run. Touchdown. (14-7 WVU, 1:55 left in the first quarter)
3. Fourth-and-9 from the Texas 30: It’s the first drive of the second quarter and Smith had just thrown incomplete to Austin. What does he do on fourth-and-nine? He finds Austin again, this time they convert for an 11-yard gain. Four plays later Andrew Buie scores on a 4-yard run. (21-7 WVU, 12:13 to go in the second quarter)
4. Fourth-and-6 on the Texas 40: It’s the start of the fourth quarter and West Virginia is trailing 38-34. Smith throws to J.D. Woods on third down, but it’s broken up. On fourth he completes a pass to Austin again, this time for 11 yards. Which leads us to...
5. Fourth-and-1 on the Texas 20: Still in the middle of the same drive (above) and the Mountaineers call a quarterback sneak. Smith converts, and picks up eight yards. But his helmet comes off, and the helmet rule sends him off the field for a snap. After a run play gets the team to the 6-yard line, Smith finds Stedman Bailey for a TD. (WVU 41-38, 10:44 left in the game)