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No. 24 West Virginia upset by Texas, loses second straight | TribLIVE.com
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No. 24 West Virginia upset by Texas, loses second straight

The Associated Press
| Saturday, November 8, 2014 7:45 p.m
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Texas safety Mykkele Thompson upends West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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Texas' Johnathan Gray (32) is pursued by West Virginia's Terrell Chestnut (16) as he reaches for the goal line to score a touchdown during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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West Virginia's Mario Alford bobbles a pass during the second half against Texas on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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Texas running back Jonathan Gray outruns West Virginia defenders for a touchdown Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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Texas' William Russ (4) carries a U.S. flag as he leads the team on to the field against West Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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Texas' Quandre Diggs (6) breaks up a pass intended for West Virginia's Jordan Thompson (10) during the second half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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Texas wide receiver Daje Johnson avoids a tackle by West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley (7) and safety Karl Joseph on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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Texas wide receiver Josh Harris catches a pass over West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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Texas tight end M.J. McFarland avoids a tackle by West Virginia safety K.J. Dillon on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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West Virginia's Clint Trickett (9) stands with his teammates during a timeout in the first half against Texas on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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West Virginia's Kevin White (11) sidesteps Texas' Dylan Haines (44) after making a catch during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen (right) talks with his players during a timeout in the first half against Texas on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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West Virginia's Terrell Chestnut (right) breaks up a pass intended for Texas' John Harris (center) during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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West Virginia's Kevin White (11) tries to brush off Texas' Steve Edmon (33) after a reception during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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Texas' Johnathan Gray (32) rushed against West Virginia during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen watches his team prior to a game against Texas on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
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Texas running back Johnathan Gray scores a touchdown as West Virginia's Terrell Chestnut gives chase during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
458645460
Getty Images
Texas safety Mykkele Thompson upends West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
WestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG08bc61
Texas' Johnathan Gray (32) is pursued by West Virginia's Terrell Chestnut (16) as he reaches for the goal line to score a touchdown during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
WestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG0d5ff
West Virginia's Mario Alford bobbles a pass during the second half against Texas on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
458645464
Getty Images
Texas running back Jonathan Gray outruns West Virginia defenders for a touchdown Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
APTOPIXWestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG0d484
Texas' William Russ (4) carries a U.S. flag as he leads the team on to the field against West Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
WestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG043aa
Texas' Quandre Diggs (6) breaks up a pass intended for West Virginia's Jordan Thompson (10) during the second half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
458645462
Getty Images
Texas wide receiver Daje Johnson avoids a tackle by West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley (7) and safety Karl Joseph on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
458645450
Getty Images
Texas wide receiver Josh Harris catches a pass over West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
458645442
Getty Images
Texas tight end M.J. McFarland avoids a tackle by West Virginia safety K.J. Dillon on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
WestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG0d867
West Virginia's Clint Trickett (9) stands with his teammates during a timeout in the first half against Texas on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
WestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG0c69b
West Virginia's Kevin White (11) sidesteps Texas' Dylan Haines (44) after making a catch during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
WestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG0b42e
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen (right) talks with his players during a timeout in the first half against Texas on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
WestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG03b16
West Virginia's Terrell Chestnut (right) breaks up a pass intended for Texas' John Harris (center) during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
WestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG0e243
West Virginia's Kevin White (11) tries to brush off Texas' Steve Edmon (33) after a reception during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
WestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG0a35b
Texas' Johnathan Gray (32) rushed against West Virginia during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
WestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG0a554
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen watches his team prior to a game against Texas on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.
APTOPIXWestVirginiaTexasFootballJPEG03ff0
Texas running back Johnathan Gray scores a touchdown as West Virginia's Terrell Chestnut gives chase during the first half Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Austin, Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas — Charlie Strong went to the Texas locker room after the biggest win of his first season as Longhorns coach when he was suddenly surrounded, grabbed and tossed into the air.

By his players.

Strong is all business, but he’s got nothing against a little crowd surfing to celebrate, especially when the postseason is looking more and more like a possibility.

Texas surged closer to a bowl game with a 33-16 win over No. 24 West Virginia on Saturday, powered by three touchdowns and 101 rushing yards from Johnathan Gray and a defense that kept the Mountaineers out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.

“I just walked in there and they grabbed me. West Virginia is going to be mad,” Strong said.

“I don’t even know how we got him up,” Texas running back Malcolm Brown said. “A couple people just picked him up, and all of a sudden he was in the air just flying.”

Gray scored on runs of 39, 2 and 15 yards as Texas (5-5, 4-3 Big 12) ended a streak of nine straight home losses to ranked opponents. The Longhorns need to win one of their final two games to be eligible for a bowl. Texas last missed a bowl in 2010 when the Longhorns had a losing season the year after playing for the national championship.

Defensively, Texas held West Virginia (6-4, 4-3) receiver Kevin White in check by keeping him out of the end zone. Mountaineers quarterback Clint Trickett passed for 248 yards but was sacked three times the Texas Cedric Reed. Trickett also had two turnovers and was tackled in the end zone for a late safety.

The Longhorns hadn’t won two in a row this season and the pressure to reach a bowl was starting to mount for Strong as the season dipped into November with his team well short of becoming eligible. Consecutive conference wins will brighten that outlook with games against Oklahoma State and No. 6 TCU left to play.

“We’re not done. This is the first stepping stone toward getting that sixth win,” Texas linebacker Jordan Hicks said.

For West Virginia, two straight losses could be the start of yet another late-season swoon in the Big 12. The Mountaineers looked tired, both emotionally and physically after last week’s last-second loss to TCU and the 1,400-mile trip to Austin.

Dreamius Smith ran for 100 yards for West Virginia. White had a school-record 16 catches for 132 yards but couldn’t produce a momentum-shifting play.

“Whether it was a little bit of a hangover, or so to speak, from last week, I don’t know. But we weren’t ready to play,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “I take responsibility for that.”

Gray scored twice in the second quarter to propel Texas to a 24-3 halftime lead. West Virginia made a late charge for a comeback when Smith scored early in the fourth quarter, but Reed snuffed the momentum by sacking Trickett for the safety.

Those two points would loom large when the Mountaineers scored again but were still down by 16 and failed on a 2-point conversion. Gray scored his final touchdown with 3:06 to play.

“I’m just getting a feel for the game,” Gray said. “I felt great tonight.”

West Virginia had a chance to make a game of it by driving inside the Texas 10 early in the third quarter, but two tackles by Hicks on third and fourth down stopped the drive.

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