Mack Brown and his (but for how much longer?) Texas Longhorns are visiting Morgantown for the first time this weekend looking to end the Mountaineer dominance over them. I kid, of course, but the fact remains that WVU does hold a 2-0 series advantage over the Longhorns in football. Both of the previous editions were decided by a grand total of four points, with the most recent victory coming last season by a winning margin of 3. But, like Mark McGwire before me, I'm not here to talk about the past.
It's no secret that Texas is going to want to run the ball. They do it well and with several options at their disposal. Leading the Longhorn rushing attack is Johnathan Gray who comes in averaging 4.8 per carry, good enough for 724 yards and 4 TDs. Behind him is Malcolm Brown with 353 yards on roughly half of the carries but with 7 TDs. We also can't forget the man who burned WVU last season in Joe Bergeron, who's still averaging 5.6 ypc, but with many fewer touches.
Case McCoy has stepped in for David Ash, who's been having trouble recovering from head injuries (and may be done for his career). McCoy is fairly comparable to Clint Trickett with his accuracy issues of late, throwing 4 interceptions in the last two games. He won't be asked to do too much in the passing game, but will take a few shots downfield, especially if the running game opens things up for him.
Defensively for the Longhorns, it's all about the bookend DE's in Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed. The Mountaineer offensive line must limit the effectiveness of these two if Trickett and our own running game is to have a chance. Sims and Smith need to be able to hit their holes with decisiveness and head upfield. Like Jed said, we could see a steady diet of screens to try to limit the aggressiveness of the Texas D-line.
Running against this Texas team will not come easy. After being gashed by BYU and Ole Miss, Robinson's squad is only giving up 126 yards per game since those games. That includes the same Oklahoma squad that gashed our defense for 300+ yards, so the competition level hasn't been suspect in that matter.
The Mountaineers can win this game and it will come down to getting Sims as many touches as possible without limiting his effectiveness. Our D-line needs to continue the stellar play they exhibited last week against TCU and somehow limit the Texas run game. If we can somehow manage that, generate a couple of turnovers...keep a well oiled crowd into the game and fun things could happen. Hell, it's a cold, night game to welcome Texas to Morgantown for the first time. What more could we ask for?