The Texas Longhorns travel to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown this Saturday night at 7 p.m. on FOX.
West Virginia (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) snapped a three-game losing streak with its 30-27 overtime win at TCU last Saturday, while Texas (6-2, 5-0 Big 12) is on a five game winning streak and looking to make it six in a row with a win over the Mountaineers.
The Longhorns were able to overwhelm their opponent last week which was Kansas, and they did stay the course and are still undefeated in Big 12 play.
Last week, Senior quarterback Case McCoy made his fifth start in place of injured quarterback David Ash, he went 20-of-29 for 196 yards, while running back Malcolm Brown carried the ball 20 times for 119 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Longhorns are favored to win the game by a touchdown according to the experts. The Texas win streak is now their longest since the 2009 team went undefeated during the regular season.
West Virginia has won both prior meetings in the all-time series with Texas, which includes the 48-45 win last season.
The Texas offensive line has been playing very well during their five game win streak, they came into last week’s game against Kansas having not allowed a sack in 61 pass attempts, a span of nine quarters. The O-line has allowed just five sacks through five league games.
Texas is led by Senior quarterback Case McCoy, he has throw for 1,188 yards and five touchdowns on the season. The Longhorn rushing attack is led by sophomore running back Johnathan Gray, who has 724 yards on 151 carries and four touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley leads Texas in the passing game with 39 receptions for 445 yards.
West Virginia is led by quarterback Clint Trickett, who has thrown for 1,218 yards and five touchdowns this season. Running back Charles Sims is without a doubt the best player on West Virginia’s offense, he is second in rushing yards in the Big 12, with 754 yards on 144 carries. True freshman receiver Daikiel Shorts leads the Mountaineers with 37 receptions for 430 yards.
Look for West Virginia kicker Josh Lambert, he’ll most likely need to make some big field goals if the Mountaineers are to pull off the upset. Last week against TCU, he equaled his career-best with three field goals, including the game winner in overtime. Lambert also kicked three field goals in West Virginia’s home upset victory over Oklahoma State.
The Mountaineers finished with 415 yards of total offense against TCU and scored on all four of their trips into the red-zone (two touchdowns, two field goals). They’ll need to do the same against Texas if they expect to have a chance at the upset. WVU can’t squander important scoring opportunities and expect to come out on top.
WVU’s defense came up with four takeaways at TCU, which essentially led them to the win. Turnovers are the great equalizer, if West Virginia can capitalize off of a few, it’ll certainly improve their chances.
On the other side of the ball, the Texas defense is great at scoring off of turnovers, so the WVU offense really needs to be fundamentally sound and take care of the ball. The Texas defense is very athletic up front and very opportunistic.
Longhorns defensive tackle Chris Whaley is the first in school history to have two defensive touchdowns in the same season. He scored on a 40-yard fumble return against Kansas and had a 31-yard interception return against Oklahoma.
Look for the Mountaineers to try and get running back Charles Sims the ball quite a lot. When Sims plays well, the Mountaineers usually follow his lead. Quarterback Clint Trickett was picked off twice against TCU, and the Mountaineers were afforded a few favorable calls as well, which helped them to move the ball.
Trickett needs to limit his mistakes and the Mountaineer defense must show up and play with great intensity, but most importantly, they’ll need to stop the Texas running game and force them to win by throwing down-field in the passing game.
Milan Puskar Stadium should be packed, the fans will no doubt be rowdy by the time kickoff rolls around, let’s see if the Mountaineers can make this another memorable night in Morgantown.