13 - 3 (19) - 1: Cedric Reed tackles - sacks (lost yardage) - forced fumbles
Easily the most impressive performance in Austin on Saturday was of the Texas defense. And Texas fans have their pick of best individual performance: Quandre Diggs containing WVU WR Kevin White and jumping a route for an INT, Jordan Hicks eating space in the secondary and accumulating 15 tackles (11 solo), or Malcom Brown doing Malcom Brown things. But the most satisfying of performances came from Cedric Reed, who's posted modest numbers playing a thankless 5-tech DE in Texas' 3-3-5 defense this season.
The defensive braintrust went to Reed during the week and informed him they'd structure some opportunities for him to make plays, and he responded. Whether by allowing him to play his preferred strongside DE position in the 4-2-5, or by bringing overloaded pressure to his side, Reed had several opportunities that he cashed in with 3 sacks, including the Horns' first safety since 2011 and a forced fumble to help shift momentum late.
It was great to see Reed rewarded for continuing to grind this season, and the DKR crowd responded to his performance each time. Hopefully the senior can build on the performance to finish out his senior year.
3 - 17: West Virginia third down conversions - attempts
36-49, 248 (5.1), 0-1: WVU QB Clint Trickett completions-attempts, passing yards (yards per pass), passing TDs-INTs
Entering the game at 18th nationally in third down conversions (47.2%), West Virginia was held to only 17.6% conversions at third down against the Horns. Even adding the 3-5 on 4th down conversions, West Virginia only extended drives on 27.2% of opportunities.
The Horns' defense was particularly smothering on the Mountaineer passing attack, which only mustered 248 yards on 49 attempts, a paltry 5.1 yards per attempt. And while QB Clint Trickett was able to connect on 73% of his passes, they were largely of the dink-and-dunk variety, as no pass went longer than 21 yards.
The ability to seal the deal on 3rd and long, limit big plays in the passing game, and tackle well in space when completions occurred in front of the defense are huge reasons for the defense's turn around under Charlie Strong.
10 - 101 - 3: Johnathan Gray rushes - rushing yards - rushing TDs
20 - 90: Malcolm Brown rushes - rushing yards
A week after the run game got traction against the Texas Tech defense, Johnathan Gray followed Brown's 100 yard performance with a 100 yarder of his own, hitting the mark in only 10 carries. Against a small WVU front, the Texas OL was able to get displacement and the backs, especially Gray, were able to maximize runs with what was blocked. Gray looked the best he's looked since his start against WVU last year when he ruptured his Achilles. Most impressive was his first half 39 yard TD run where he broke a WVU arm tackle at the line of scrimmage, then shook a WVU secondary player at the second level before outrunning the rest of the secondary.
Brown contributed some hard running of his own, carrying the load inside and picking up hard yardage up the gut.
3 - 38: Jaxon Shipley receptions - receiving yards
While the Texas WRs had a quiet afternoon as the passing game at large struggled, Jaxon Shipley's performance allowed him to move into 3rd all time at Texas for receptions, passing Quan Cosby. At 213 career receptions, he only trails Roy Williams at 241 and brother Jordan Shipley at 248.