Sam Ehlinger threw two touchdown passes and Texas became bowl eligible under first-year coach Tom Herman with a 28-14 win over No. 24 West Virginia on Saturday in a game in which the Mountaineers lost quarterback Will Grier to injury.
The Longhorns (6-5, 5-3 Big 12) qualified for a bowl for the first time since 2014, which was former coach Charlie Strong’s first season.
Texas entered the game with 13 touchdown passes all season, and Ehlinger got two in the second quarter. His 50-yard pass to Reggie Hemphill-Mapps set up Ehlinger’s 4-yard TD toss to Kendall Moore.
Ehlinger did most of the work on the Longhorns’ next drive. He went from sideline to sideline for a 17-yard gain on third down, ran 23 yards after catching a pass from Jerrod Heard, then found Chris Warren for a 23-yard score just before halftime for a 14-0 lead.
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Grier left the game in the first quarter with an injured throwing hand when he landed awkwardly as he dove for the end-zone pylon on a run. The middle finger of his right hand was bent backward and he did not return.
Backup Chris Chugunov couldn’t get much going. He threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Ka’Raun White early in the fourth quarter to pull West Virginia within 21-14. But the Mountaineers (7-4, 5-3) didn’t score again.
Texas: Ehlinger looked comfortable mixing runs and passes on a damp day. He finished 12 of 19 for 136 yards and ran nine times for 68 yards. Shane Buechele started for the Longhorns but played only two series in the first quarter.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers struggled to get first downs without Grier. Chugunov, a sophomore who played in two previous games this season, finished 14 of 26 for 189 yards. West Virginia was held to a season-low 295 yards of offense.
Texas finishes the regular season at home on Friday against Texas Tech.
West Virginia plays at No. 10 Oklahoma next Saturday.
TEX—K.Moore 4 pass from Ehlinger (Becker kick), 10:55
TEX—Warren 20 pass from Ehlinger (Becker kick), 2:29
WVU—Robinson 94 interception return (Staley kick), 5:29
TEX—Porter 10 run (Becker kick), 1:23
WVU—Ka.White 12 pass from C.Chugunov (Staley kick), 9:01
TEX—D.Young 1 run (Becker kick), 5:07
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Texas, D.Young 12-85, Ehlinger 9-68, Porter 7-53, Carter 10-27, Hemphill-Mapps 1-5, Humphrey 1-0, (Team) 2-(minus 5). West Virginia, Crawford 15-64, McKoy 9-18, Pettaway 2-5, Grier 1-1, McKivitz 0-0, C.Chugunov 2-(minus 32).
PASSING—Texas, Buechele 4-7-0-28, Heard 1-1-0-23, Ehlinger 12-19-1-136. West Virginia, Grier 6-8-0-50, C.Chugunov 14-26-0-189.
RECEIVING—Texas, Humphrey 4-28, D.Young 3-14, Hemphill-Mapps 2-58, C.Johnson 2-12, Ehlinger 1-23, Warren 1-20, Heard 1-14, De.Duvernay 1-9, Joe 1-5, K.Moore 1-4. West Virginia, Jennings 10-78, Ka.White 6-63, Simms 2-51, D.Sills 2-47.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.