WVU’s Darius Stills: ‘When We Executed They Didn’t Get Anything’
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia defensive lineman Darius Stills was of the firm belief that Mountaineer miscues were a key factor in Texas’ ability to move the ball in the second half, enabling a 42-31 Longhorn win on Saturday. While giving credit to a talented UT offense, Stills saw a WVU defense that held its own, and more, when on track defensively.
“Whenever we execute our plays, they didn’t get anything. I feel like it was us not executing our calls when they got their big plays,” said Stills. “Texas is a good team. They are going to make plays, they are going to get first downs, they are going to get touchdowns. But I feel like most of their big plays were us not executing our calls.”
West Virginia did play well for long stretches of the game, including much of the first half and the third quarter. Stills, though, noted that wasn’t enough to get the job done.
“You have to start strong, but you have to finish strong. I felt like we got kind of complacent with that first quarter,” the junior from Fairmont said of West Virginia’s impressive start. “We did good, but then we started relaxing a little bit and they started getting some of their big plays. Then we snapped back into it in the third quarter.”
WVU held Texas to just 20 rushing yards in the first quarter and 31 in the third. The Mountaineers also held Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger to only 211 passing yards in the game.
Stills certainly did his part. He had four tackles, all solo stops, with one of those a sack of Ehlinger. Three of his four stops were for lost yardage — a testament to the regularity with which he penetrated the Longhorn backfield. On his sack, he broke through the line and caught just a glimpse of his target.
“I just came through the B gap and I just saw his ankles,” said Stills of his move between a Longhorn guard and tackle. “Honestly it was a blur. I don’t know. But I got him down.”
Stills was matter-of-fact about the defense being put in some tough situations due to turnovers and the offense’s inability to sustain drives for much of the second half. Texas started three point-blank possessions on West Virginia’s 18-, 27-, and 33-yard lines,and had another begin in WVU territory at the 47. All four of those possessions ended in Longhorn touchdowns, with the Mountaineers unable to get a stop or at least force a field goal, as the Horns did on a Mountaineer drive that began at the UT 14.
The effort was there, but unfortunately the performance overall was not. A defense can’t be expected to hold back the tide when wave after wave begins just a few yards from shore, but West Virginia wasn’t able to even slow it. It took Texas just 14 plays to score those four touchdowns.
“Like Coach Lesley told us today, football is the best representation of life. Sometimes you get setbacks, but you can’t let that affect you,” said Stills. “I feel like it’s on us sometimes, and that’s o.k. I’d rather it be on us sometimes. You just have to ball out, regardless.”