Texas players, coaches praise Mountaineers after loss
AUSTIN, Texas - As the largest crowd to ever fill Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium filed out late Saturday night, Longhorns fans shook their heads.
They weren't alone. University of Texas players and coaches did as well.
But many of the latter also nodded their heads as well, congratulating West Virginia for its 48-45 victory.
"I want to congratulate West Virginia," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "They've got a really good football team. We knew it would come down to whom made the most critical plays. And you've got to give them credit. They made the critical plays.
"We got them in trouble on third downs; they were 3-of-12. But [WVU quarterback Geno Smith] made 5-of-5 fourth-down plays. Two of them were touchdowns."
He called Smith, WVU's Heisman Trophy frontrunner, "unbelievable" in the end. He called Mountaineer receiver Tavon Austin "one of the best players I have ever seen."
"[Austin] affects the game every time he touches the ball. He's a guy we tried to stop, slow down, keep [the ball] out of his hands. And they have a great game plan to get it into his hands."
Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was also effusive in his praise.
"You look at what [Smith] did," Diaz said. "There weren't a lot of times we weren't draped all over the guy as he was trying to throw to. You have to give him a lot of credit and his receivers a lot of credit. When the play was there to be made, they made it."
Longhorns quarterback David Ash said he and his team battled to the end.
"The whole game I thought we were going to win," Ash said. "We just came up a bit short. We had opportunities and I was proud of the way this [Texas] team battled."
Brown thanked the crowd of 101,624, the largest to ever see a WVU game. Junior Longhorn guard Mason Walters called it "electric, unlike any I have ever played in before." Yet WVU proved victorious.
"We played a really good team," said Texas senior running back Jeremy Hills. "It was a really, really good West Virginia team. Geno Smith is everything we heard."
"They beat us," said Texas junior cornerback Carrington Byndom. "That's what it all it comes down to. It is never just one play. We knew it was going to be a fight between both teams and [the Mountaineers] just ended up making more plays than we did. It showed on the results."
West Virginia now leads the series with Texas 2-0. The Mountaineers also won by 7-6 in Austin in 1956.