West Virginia’s Will Grier threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Gary Jennings with 16 seconds left, and then ran in the 2-point conversion to send the 12th-ranked Mountaineers to a 42-41 win over No. 15 Texas on Saturday.
Grier broke his finger on a run to the pylon in the first quarter of a loss to Texas last year, and his game-winning run came on a similar scramble. But there was no defender near him this time around, and he held the ball up while crossing the goal line untouched.
The 2-point conversion came moments after Grier connected with David Sills. Texas had called timeout just before the ball was snapped so the Mountaineers had to line up again. Grier dropped back, took a step into the pocket, and then swung out to his left to break for the corner of the end zone.
“It was an easy decision,” to go for 2, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “If you put the fate of the game in (Grier’s) hands, I feel pretty good about it. … We had that decision made before we even took the field.”
Grier drove the Mountaineers (7-1, 5-1 Big 12, No. 13 CFP) to the win after Texas grabbed a 41-34 lead on Sam Ehlinger’s touchdown throw to Devin Duvernay with 2:34 to play.
Grier finished with 346 yards passing and three touchdowns, two to Sills.
Ehlinger passed for 356 yards and three scores and also ran for a touchdown for Texas (6-3, 4-2, No. 17 CFP), which has lost two in a row.
“The silver lining is we play in the Big 12 and everybody plays everybody. We’re not out of any race yet,” Texas coach Tom Herman said.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers got an important road win in their quest for their first Big 12 title. The defense held on just enough to force the Longhorns to kick two field goals in the second half that kept them in range for Grier to work his fourth-quarter magic. The running game also pounded away at the Texas defense with 232 yards.
Texas: Injuries have become a problem while Texas has stumbled into the second half of its season. Starting safety Brandon Jones didn’t play because he aggravated an ankle injury before the game at the team hotel, starting cornerback Davante Davis was knocked out on the first series and edge rusher Breckyn Hager also left with a first-half shoulder injury.
West Virginia should get a boost for a big road win against a much improved Texas team compared to last season. The Longhorns likely drift back toward the bottom of the Top 25 after another game where the defense struggled again.
West Virginia hosts TCU next Saturday.
Texas travels to Texas Tech next Saturday.