THE MORE effective surprise for the Mountaineers was going for it as much as they did on fourth down. They'd been 0-for-4 in the first four games, but were 5-for-5 against Texas.
There were two conversions in the first quarter, one in the second and two in the fourth.
"I would like to go for it on fourth down," Smith said. "Obviously, that one of those things where I can't call it. It's up to Coach Holgorsen. I love the fact he trusts us enough to leave us out on the field on fourth down in medium- or short-yardage situations, especially with the game on the line."
There were three fourth downs when Holgorsen didn't go for the first down. Kicker Tyler Bitancurt was 1-for-2 on field-goal attempts. He had a 42-yard attempt blocked on WVU's second drive, but made a 37-attempt in the second quarter. His 41-yard field goal at the end of the half was on third down.
Bitancurt also had a punt blocked at his 24-yard line in the second quarter.
Holgorsen decided to go for it in Texas territory all five times and each was between the 48 and 20. The five conversions came on three touchdown drives.
"With our offense, I do like our changes to convert a lot of those situations, but it all depends where you are on the field," receiver Stedman Bailey said. "It could be a big momentum shift if you don't get it, especially in an environment like Texas.
"That would pretty much rev their fans up and make them go crazy, which would make it hard on our defense. If you do get it, it's kind of like, I don't know, a slap in their face. I'm for it, but like I said, it all depends on where you are on the field."
* * *
THE WVU defense ranks No. 37 nationally against the run and gives up 124 yards per game. The 2.91 yards per carry is No. 13 - and that includes 20, 20, 24 and 49 yard runs in the first five games. Those are the only runs of 20 or more yards allowed in 213 attempts and they add up to 18 percent of the 620 yards allowed all season.
One big reason for WVU's success is 6-foot-4, 310-pound nose guard Shaw Rowell, who's already played more than twice the number of snaps he played all of last season. He was solid in the middle against Texas, but had a close call before the game - one he won't discuss.
"He cut his leg before the game," defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said. "He did something in the locker room and had to have it stitched up, but he said he was OK and he could play - and he played really well for us."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com