You’ll Know Where The Mountaineers Stand After This Game
Yeah, this is the easy way out but it’s still true. When this game is over, the Mountaineers will either be legitimate Big 12 title contenders or they will be relegated to a lower-tier bowl. The loss to Iowa St. Cyclones has taken away the margin of error for West Virginia. Two losses will be enough to keep the Mountaineers out of the Big 12 CCG because of tiebreakers. At this point, a loss to Texas will put the Mountaineers in second place and if anyone other than Oklahoma finishes with the season with just two losses, the Mountaineers will find themselves out of the game. Win the game and you know this team can play with the more talented squads.
Put Texas Behind The Chains And They Fold
According to Bill Connelly’s advanced stats, Texas ranks 39th in offensive success rate and 22nd is offensive efficiency, but 115th in IsoPPP and 117 in Marginal Explosiveness. What this tells us is that Texas is able to avoid the negative play but they aren’t going to beat you going deep when they do. Texas is a plodder.
Even better is that Texas is only 104th in average field position on offense. So they often have to go a long way to score points. This plays well into West Virginia’s hand. The Mountaineers are both efficient (48th in Defensive Success Rate, 58th in Marginal Efficiency) and Explosive (48th in Defense IsoPPP, 30th in Defensive Marginal Explosiveness).
The storyline is that we want Sam Ehlinger to beat us throwing the ball. The stats bear that out. Ehlinger is efficiency but he’s not very explosive. If you are going to beat West Virginia when they are on their game, you have to beat us for big gains and so far Texas hasn’t proven they can do that.
The Turnover Helmet Must Appear Twice
Since the Turnover Helmet first made an appearance against Kansas State, the Mountaineers have forced 16 turnovers in five games, over 3 per. For West Virginia, the helmet has been a fantastic success. It is 100% West Virginia and has helped motivate the defense to generate the necessary gains that stop the opposing offense while giving the ball back to our team. Against Texas, who haven’t thrown many interceptions or lost many fumbles, the defense will need to generate at least two turnovers. Doing so, and allowing the Mountaineers to continue their streak of scoring on turnovers will put the Longhorns in a position of abandoning the run, which is where we want them. We want Ehlinger throwing the ball.