Texas lost to West Virginia 42-41 on Saturday. It was one of those whoever-has-the-ball-last-wins type of games, where any number of plays, calls, decisions and bounces of the ball could have turned the outcome.
West Virginia got the last of those plays, eschewing a game-tying extra point to go for two and the win with 16 seconds to play. After two defensive timeouts by Texas, WVU called its first quarterback draw of the game, allowing Will Grier to prance in untouched. The Mountaineer quarterback was flagged for excessive celebration but, as you’ll see below, that was for the Horns Down motion he made after crossing the goal line — WVU wideout David Sills was flagged for the same thing after West Virginia’s first score — and not the high-stepping and arm-extending Grier did when he knew the play had worked.
After the game, here’s what Tom Herman had to say.
Herman is correct that NCAA rules do say a player who noticeably alters his stride while running unabated to the end zone in an effort to taunt his opponent should be hit with a live-ball unsportsmanlike penalty, thereby negating the touchdown — but watch that again and say with a straight face that Grier meets even the most strict interpretation of that rule. He does not.
The officials were a critical part of Saturday’s game, calling 21 penalties, including 11 in the first quarter alone. The Longhorns were on the business end of some tough calls, most notably a questionable roughing the passer call that turned a 4th-and-15 into a 1st-and-10 an eventual WVU touchdown. There were also two critical replay decisions that went against Texas — a booth-initiated replay that wiped out Sam Ehlinger’s 4th-and-1 Sam Ehlinger conversion at the WVU 5-yard line without indisputable video evidence with Texas knocking on the door to go up 35-27 in the third quarter, and a fourth quarter decision not to review a questionable spot on a 3rd-and-15 Ehlinger scramble.
Herman didn’t question either of those decisions, instead calling for what would have been the most ticky-tack of calls even by an incredibly ticky-tack crew.
When combined with the brouhaha with Mike Gundy at the end of last week’s 38-35 loss to Oklahoma State, Herman will tell you he’s simply fighting for his players. But by picking such excessively needless, impossible-to-win fights, he’s painting himself as a poor loser.