West Virginia and Texas have both seemed to have stopped the bleeding in what has been a rocky season for the two teams. The Mountaineer's (4-4) (1-4 Big 12) have started November off with a bang after a win over Texas Tech and are hoping to finish Big 12 play better than they started it. Texas (4-5)( 3-4 Big 12) has been erratic in it's close losses and upset victories but got back on track with a convincing offensive performance against Kansas.
The Longhorns of Texas desperately need this win in order to save their season after only managing 4 wins so far on the season. Their last and next couple of games after this one will include bouts against Texas Tech and undefeated Baylor so dropping this contest will put them in a tight spot for bowl eligibility against a couple of tough teams. The positives may be the confidence in the passing game after redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard had a productive day against Kansas plus fellow freshman receiver John Burt broke out as well with a 113 yard receiving performance which included 1 touchdown.
Texas also brings with them to Morgantown a trio of rushers including Heard who have wreaked havoc on opposing defenses. Senior running back Johnathan Gray and Sophomore D'Onta Foreman are the power. Each back weighs over 210 pounds and along with the speed of Heard have combined for for 167 yards a game. The three backs provide a nice change of pace to the offense and like West Virginia help control the fatigue of the run game.
The negatives include a defense who gives up 29 points a game which is 4 more than their offense has been able to put up.
The Mountaineers however have a piece of momentum of their own as their two running backs Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell dominated the Texas Tech defense and head into this game facing a Texas team who has given up 112 points on the road and 187 yards rushing yards a game.
Wide receiver Shelton Gibson could be in-line for a huge day as well after not recording a catch last game. Ka'Raun White could be a starter opposite of him due to his solid game last week and continued dropped balls by the freshmen on the roster.
With a roster full of underclassman and a defense enduring heavy growing pains look out for a blow out in Morgantown pending Skyler Howard's performance. This is without mentioning the rowdy atmosphere of West Virginia now that October is over and wins are attainable.
The two Big 12 teams will slug it out in Morgantown, West Virginia on Saturday, November 14. The game will kick off at noon and will be televised nationally on ESPNU.