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Texas builds huge early lead, coasts past West Virginia 38-20

(Postgame “Round of Sound”)

AUSTIN, Tx. — Any momentum the West Virginia Mountaineers were able to store up from back-to-back wins dissipated quickly at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium Saturday evening. Texas scored touchdowns on four consecutive possessions in the first half and they were not threatened the rest of the way in a 38-20 win over WVU.

The Mountaineers have not won three consecutive games since the 2018 season.

“Credit Texas. I thought they outplayed us early,” said WVU head coach Neal Brown. “They took control. I felt like they won the game within the first fifteen minutes. I felt like we could come in here and win the game.”

“We started off bad. There’s no excuse for it,” said WVU redshirt junior wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton. “We were trying to dig ourselves out of the hole the whole game. It just wasn’t enough.”

WVU freshman phenom running back CJ Donaldson was injured on a rushing attempt with 6:25 to go in the third quarter. Trainers from both teams immediately stabilized Donaldson as he was taken from the field on a stretcher. Donaldson gave a thumbs up gesture to the crowd as he left on a cart.

WVU announced after the game that Donaldson was cleared to travel back with the team to Morgantown.

“It was scary,” Brown said. “I am sitting there as a father of three and I knew his mom wasn’t there. That’s really all I could think about.”

“It was terrifying, honestly,” said Ford-Wheaton. “Just to be playing with him one snap and then the next he is getting taken off on a stretcher.”

Texas opened the scoring midway through the first quarter. After WVU was unable to convert on a fourth-and-2 at the UT 40, the Longhorns marched 60 yards on 7 plays. The drive was capped by a 15-yard touchdown strike from Hudson Card to Xavier Worthy.

Oct 1, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns wide receiver Ja’Tavion Sanders (0) catches a touchdown pass during the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. (Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)

Texas doubled their lead on the next possession. On a double pass, Worthy hit a wide open Ja’Tavion Sanders for a 33-yard connection. Texas led WVU 14-0 after the opening stanza and the Longhorns outgained the Mountaineers 136-57.

A drive full of chunk plays gave the Longhorns their third touchdown in as many drives. Bijan Robinson’s 1-yard burst was the final play on a drive that contained gains of 22 and 24 yards on consecutive plays. Robinson carried the ball 21 times for 101 yards.

“When you are playing against somebody as good as their running backs are, you are not going to stop them,” Brown said. “Nobody has stopped them all year. They had a chance to win the game against Alabama and they are pretty good on defense. You are not going to stop them, so you have to pick your poison.”

(Neal Brown postgame press conference) 

On UT’s next possession, the Longhorns covered 87 yards on 6 plays with the help of a pair of 15-yard penalties on West Virginia. With Texas backed up on their 3-yard line, a face mask penalty gave Texas a first down. A late hit out of bounds by Lee Kpogba followed two plays later. Sanders was wide open in the end zone to collect his second touchdown pass, this time from Card. The 13-yard score gave Texas a 28-0 lead.

West Virginia was able to find the end zone on their final possession of the half. A drive that included successful conversions on fourth-and-10 and third-and-9 was capped by a Kaden Prather 8-yard reception. The Mountaineers trailed 28-7 at intermission.

Texas needed just 111 seconds and 5 plays to erase WVU’s touchdown. Card tossed a pass into the end zone that was deflected by Aubrey Burks and right into the waiting hands of Worthy. The 44-yard touchdown reception was his second score of the game.

“They big-played us,” Brown said. “And they are better at some spots than we are. That’s the truth and we have to do a better job of getting our strengths to play to their strengths.”

West Virginia answered back with a time consuming drive (7:31). Tony Mathis’ 1-yard tote was the final play on an 18-play, 65-yard drive to pull the Mountaineers within three scores at 35-14. Justin Johnson’s 4-yard touchdown run with 4:31 remaining capped the scoring for West Virginia.

Daniels completed 29-of-48 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked three times.

Card connected on 21-of-27 passing attempts for 303 yards with three touchdowns. Texas averaged 15.3 yards per completion.

“He is almost a 5-star recruit. He is a pretty damn good player,” Brown said. “And Worthy is really good. He played really well tonight.”

Texas outgained West Virginia 446-314. The Mountaineers rushed the ball 31 times for just 60 yards.

“The run game comes down to winning at the point of contact,” Brown said. “We simply just didn’t do that tonight. We have been breaking tackles. And we didn’t break tackles early. We broke some in the second half and maybe on the last drive of the first half. But the possessions we had up until that last drive of the first half, we weren’t breaking tackles.”

“They were playing good defense in the first half,” said Johnson Jr. “We had a lot of opportunities and some of them we didn’t capitalize off of. That hurt us. In the run game, we just kept going and going and going and we eventually had success.”

Bryce Ford-Wheaton led WVU receivers with 8 catches for 93 yards.

100,740 fans were in attendance in Austin.

The Mountaineers (2-3, 0-2 Big 12) will enter their only full bye week of the season. West Virginia will host defending Big 12 champion Baylor on October 13. Texas (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) faces Oklahoma next Saturday.

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Marshall grounds its way past Gardner-Webb, 28-7

— by David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — When Marshall’s offense got into Gardner-Webb’s red zone, it made the most of it.

The Thundering Herd entered the red zone four times, scored three touchdowns and that stat helped pave the way to a 28-7 victory Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Field. The chill and rain cut into attendance and the crowd was announced at 19,845.

The Herd (3-2) got two first-half scoring tosses from starter Henry Colombi. He got helped to the locker room at the half and Cam Fancher took over. Fancher led Marshall to a score on its first possession in the third quarter when workhorse Khalan Laborn went over the top from 1 yard.

The transfer from Florida State chalked up his fifth straight 100-yard game. He raced 78 yards for a score in the fourth period to finally excite the fans left watching and put his game totals at 35 carries for a career-high 191 yards.

“Appreciate the way the players grinded it out,” Herd coach Charles Huff said. “The defense continues to be consistent. The offense grinded it on the ground. That’s who we are now.”

Gardner-Webb, an FCS school and Big South Conference member, fell to 1-4.

While the Herd offense found its pace to a degree, the defense again played lights out, allowing 19 rush yards and no red zone trips for the Bulldogs. Troy went 2-of-5 inside the 20 last week, settling for two field goals. The Herd defense has not allowed a touchdown the last two games.

Colombi tossed a first-quarter TD pass to Anthony Turner for 24 yards and another of 10 yards to Corey Gammage in the second. 

The downer came in the first when Ty Anderson of the Bulldogs picked off a pass and went 45 yards for a score. 

Colombi completed 13-of-20 passes for 138 yards. His counterpart, Bailey Fisher, went 9-of-28 for 114 yards and three picks. The visitors had a season-low 143 total yards.

The weather contributed to the Herd’s limited air attack and Huff going with Fancher in the second half. Colombi, who got his left leg rolled on, could’ve gone back in.

“Limited the throws because of the conditions,” Huff said. “We have to be patient. What we have to do is grind it out. Glad to have that. May need that one day down the road. It was best to leave him (Cam) in for what we were doing. Keep Henry out.”

Huff saluted the job turned in by Laborn.

“Tried to drive to take some time off the clock,” Huff said. “The holes got bigger. Went from three to four to six to eight. If he has to carry it 60 times, he’ll carry it 60. We do what we have to do to win. We don’t count reps. It’s what we can do to win.”

The Herd secondary is proving to be up to the challenge. Steven Gilmore had two picks and Joshua Bowers one. The Herd also recovered a fumble.

“He’s been patient,” Huff said of Gilmore. “A good job by the whole defensive backfield. They’re playing the ball in the air. Lock and locate. I tell them they’re receivers running backwards.”

Gilmore took a low-key approach as did defensive end Owen Porter.

“I try to do what I can to help my team win,” Gilmore said. “Attack the ball and make the play in the air.”

“We’re playing well on our side of the ball,” Porter said. “Very sound defense. Everybody is where they’re supposed to be. Try to be as stingy as possible.”

Getting points in the red zone is vital to Colombi and the offense.

“You’ve got to score in the red zone to win games,” said Colombi, a Texas Tech transfer. “We haven’t done that. It’s good for the confidence. The way the defense has played, it takes the pressure off when you get stagnant.

“Wish I could have the interception back. It’s unfortunate. You just move on, Laborn’s a workhorse. You saw that.”

The two teams combined for 18 punts — 10 by Gardner-Webb and eight for Marshall. Marshall had four holding calls in the first half. Herd defensive lineman Immanuel Bush got ejected in the second quarter on a targeting call. It was confirmed after a review.

The Herd is off until Wednesday, October 12 when it takes on Louisiana in its first Sun Belt home game. Then there’s another break until October 22 when Marshall travels to James Madison.

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Follow along: Texas tops Mountaineers, 38-20

AUSTIN, Tx. — With both teams 2-2 and in pursuit of their first Big 12 Conference win, West Virginia and Texas meet at 7:30 p.m. inside Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

With wins in six of the 11 previous matchups against Texas, the Mountaineers are the only Big 12 program with a winning record in their all-time series with the Longhorns.

10:53 p.m. — FINAL: Texas 38, West Virginia 20. Texas (3-2, 1-1) was hardly threatened throughout the night by the Mountaineers (2-3, 0-2), who are back in action October 13 when they welcome Baylor on Thursday night. The 18-point victory for the Longhorns is their largest margin in six wins over the Mountaineers and tied the mark for most lopsided win in the 12-game series history.

10:38 p.m. — SCORE: Justin Johnson provides West Virginia with its third touchdown of the night on a 4-yard run. Wyatt Milum’s blocking helped Johnson get to the edge on the second scoring run of his career. Trailing by 18, West Virginia elects to go for two, but Daniels’ pass to Prather is incomplete. Texas 38, West Virginia 20, 4:31 4th qtr 

10:24 p.m. — SCORE: — Texas answers with a 45-yard field goal off the foot of Bert Auburn. Texas 38, West Virginia 14.

10:13 p.m.SCORE: — On the opening play of the fourth quarter, a Tony Mathis 1-yard touchdown run caps an 18-play, 65-yard drive that took 7:31 off the clock. Texas 35, West Virginia 14.

10:07 p.m. — End third quarter score: Texas 35, West Virginia 7.

9:49 p.m. — Freshman running back CJ Donaldson injured on a rushing attempt. The cart has been called onto the field. Donaldson gave a thumbs up gesture to the crowd as he left the field on the medical cart.

9:29 p.m. — SCORE: Worthy does it again. On a pass deflected by Aubrey Burks, Worthy made a diving catch along the back of the end zone line on a 44-yard pass. Texas 35, West Virginia 7.

9:04 p.m. — Halftime in Austin: Texas 28, West Virginia 7.

9:00 p.m. — SCORE: — Signs of life for West Virginia on a lengthy drive just before halftime. Successful conversions on fourth-and-10 and 3rd-and-9 set the stage for Kaden Prather to collect an 8-yard touchdown reception. Texas 28, West Virginia 7.

8:45 p.m. — SCORE: — Sanders scores his second touchdown on a busted coverage in the Mountaineer secondary. Sanders collects a 13-yard pass from Card to extend the UT lead to four touchdowns. Texas 28, West Virginia 0.

8:42 p.m. — West Virginia commits personal foul penalties twice in three plays. A facemask penalty and a late hit out of bounds by Lee Kpogba lets Texas out of the shadow of their own goal post.

8:35 p.m. — 23 minutes into the contest, Texas collects their third sack of West Virginia quarterback JT Daniels.

8:28 p.m. — SCORE: — Third touchdown in as many drives for the Longhorns. Bijan Robinson’s 1-yard tote gives the home team a 21-point cushion. Texas 21, West Virginia 0.

8:20 p.m. — Third drop of the game for West Virginia proves costly. Sam James (3 catches for 47 yards) could not reel in a sure first down pass. Texas takes over at their 29-yard line.

8:13 p.m.SCORE: Trick play doubles the Longhorn lead. On a double pass, Worthy hits a wide open Ja’Tavion. The 33-yard touchdown capped a 6-play, 74-yard drive. Texas 14, West Virginia 0.

7:58 p.m.SCORE: Xavier Worthy gets the Longhorns on the scoreboard. He reels in a 15-yard strike from Hudson Card to cap a 7-play, 60-yard drive. Texas 7, West Virginia 0.

7:52 p.m. — Turnover on downs for West Virginia at the Texas 40. WVU passed on a 57-yard field goal opportunity but failed to convert on fourth-and-2.

7:46 p.m.  — Combined sack from Jasir Cox and Edward Vesterinen forces Texas to punt. Morgantown High School graduate Preston Fox was deep to receive the UT punt. WVU takes over at the Longhorn 48-yard line.

7:40 p.m. — West Virginia’s first possession covers 30 yards and a pair of receptions from Sam James before Texas forces a punt. Longhorns start their first drive at their own 13-yard line.

7:33 p.m. — West Virginia wins the coin toss and elects to receive.

6:44 p.m. — There are changes to West Virginia’s dress list from the Virginia Tech game. As expected, cornerback Charles Woods remains out with the injury he suffered in the season opener at Pittsburgh. Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy is going through pregame warmups. He suffered a lower-body injury in last week’s loss at Texas Tech.

Your essential pregame links:

Setting the scene from Austin

Mountaineers set for meeting with Longhorns

Johnson emerging in WVU backfield

Three Guys Before the Game – Texas preview edition

Tough task awaits a Mountaineer defense trying to maintain momentum

Improved offensive line leads to more balanced offense

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Setting the scene from Austin as WVU visits Texas at DKR

AUSTIN, Tx. — Joe Brocato sets the scene from Austin, where the Mountaineers (2-2) will face Texas (2-2) at 7:30 p.m. MetroNews Gameday radio coverage is on the air and runs past midnight.

(The Mountaineers have arrived at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium)

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Fire destroys mobile home in Poca

POCA, W.Va. — An early morning fire Saturday left a mobile home in ashes in Putnam County.

Crews from the Nitro, Poca, and Bancroft Fire Departments responded to the blaze which broke out on Armour Road in Poca around 7 a.m.

The trailer, which was unoccupied at the time, was fully engulfed in flame when firemen arrived at the scene. The structure was declared a total loss.

Nobody was injured and a cause for he fire is under investigation.

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Ian’s rain arrives, but so far so good for W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — So far so good for West Virginia in handling the rain from what was Hurricane Ian.

The residual rain from the storm which blasted Florida and the Carolina coast started to arrive in West Virginia late Friday night and has continued a steady downpour across much of the state. However, despite the amount of rain packed in the storm, high water had not been an issue as of mid-morning Saturday.

“There is a little bit of ponding here and there, but so far we have not received any reports of flooding,” said Megan Kiebler, Meteorologist at the National Weather Service Bureau in Charleston.

Flood watches remain posted until 11 p.m. Saturday night for all of the counties in southern West Virginia.

“Southeast West Virginia in the Beckley area has seen an inch and a half of rain, but luckily we were dry for the past several days and that’s allowed the ground to soak up everything we’ve gotten so far,” she added.

The story was the same at the headquarters of the state Department of Emergency Management at the State Capitol. There were no reports of any flooding issues as of midday Saturday. All departments representing first responders however remain on alert. Governor Jim Justice on Friday issued a “state of preparedness” order to all agencies which would be involved in an emergency response.

“We’ll be watching to see if any bursts of rain come through in the afternoon which could lead to some localized flooding issues,” said Kiebler.

There is a wind advisory associated with the forecast. The National Weather Service forecasts gusts of 35 to 50 miles an hour across the mountain regions of West Virginia through tonight.

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Charleston man sought for shooting
Gregory Ray

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston Police have a warrant for a man wanted for shooting a woman and her dog in broad daylight Friday.

According to Police, Rachel Hall, 28, of Charleston was shot in the chest while walking with her dog along Charleston’s 7th Avenue around noon Friday. The dog was also shot and wounded. Both were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Hall is in critical, but stable condition. The dog is a in a similar condition.

Investigators say evidence in the case led them to Gregory Ray, 35, who remains at large. Warrants were issued Friday for his arrest on charges of wanton endangerment.

Anybody knowing Ray’s whereabouts is asked to contact Charleston Police at 304-348-6400.

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Wood County school janitor arrested for drugs
Clayton Wheeland

Vienna, W.Va. — A Wood County school employee faces charges after he police say he was caught with drugs at school.

Clayton Wheeland, 25, of Elizabeth, W.Va. was arrested Thursday by Vienna Police at Greenmont Elementary School.

Police and medics responded when it was reported he appeared to be under the influence of drugs at school. Police said he was found in possession of suspected methamphetamine, suspected, marijuana, Adderall tablets, and drug paraphernalia.

He’s being held in the North Central Regional Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.

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Woman charged after O-D in front of a teen
Angel Eagle
FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A Fairmont woman who overdosed this week is now charged with child neglect.
A 14 year old was at the home in Fairmont this week when the overdose occurred.  The teenager is the one who phoned 9-1-1 to get help for Angel Eagle, 40, of Fairmont.   First responders used Narcan to revive Eagle after she had ingested heroin.
She was arrested upon her release from the hospital and charged with child neglect.

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Fall forest fire season underway

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — You’ll hear no complaints from the West Virginai Division of Forestry about a soaking rain across the state on the first day of the fall forest fire season. Ian’s residual rains have drenched the state and made conditions for a forest fire almost null, but observers know it won’t last.

October 1st is the first day of the autumn forest fire season. Open burning must be confined to the hours of 5pm to 7am.

“As we start into our fall fire season, I ask that everyone please use a little common sense and follow our burning laws. Please refrain from burning on hot and windy evenings, even if you are permitted to do so, and wait for a wet evening to conduct your burning,” said Assistant State Forester Jeremy Jones, of the West Virginia Division of Forestry.

The fire safe law includes:

–No outdoor burning from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

–Any fire set between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. must be extinguished before 7 a.m.

–Fires must be attended at all times.

–Before leaving any fire for any length of time, the fire must be completely extinguished.

–Clear at least a 10-foot area (safety strip) around the fire and make sure all burnable material has been removed.

–Any equipment that can throw sparks and operating on land subject to fire by any cause must be provided with an adequate spark arrestor.

–If your fire escapes, you are liable for the costs of fighting the fire and any damage the fire may cause.

–Violation of the burning law is punishable by a fine up to $1,000.

To burn during prohibited periods for commercial burning, a permit must be obtained from the Division of Forestry.

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