This Saturday, the 11th ranked Texas Longhorns play the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown, WV. Let’s take a closer look at the state of Texas football in week six.
Against Oklahoma State
Prior to last week’s bye week, the Longhorns beat Oklahoma State 36-30 at Texas. They held the nation’s leading rusher, Chuba Hubbard, to just over three yards per carry. It took 37 carries for him to achieve 128 yards. Wide receiver Tylan Wallace had five catches for 82 yards. The Longhorns held the nation’s top receiver to less than 100 yards. Of 14 offensive drives, Oklahoma State was held to only three touchdowns. Quarterback Spencer Sanders had 19 completions of 32 passes for 268 total yards with two interceptions and one rushing touchdown.
Compare this to Sam Ehlinger who had 20 completions on 28 passes for 281 total yards with one interception. Running back Keaontay Ingram had a career high with 21 rushes for 114 yards; 54 of these yards came after his first contact. This was Ingram’s second career 100-yard game. Wide receiver Devin DuVernay had 12 receptions for 108 yards and one touchdown. He currently leads the nation with 39 receptions. Duvernay is also 10 for 16 on third down conversions this season. On the defensive side, Texas had 12 tackles for losses. The special teams made some errors with a dropped punt return by Jake Smith and a careless contact by Brandon Jones.
The Texas secondary continues to struggle with injuries. Missing the West Virginia game are defensive back Josh Thompson (out for a significant amount of time with a broken foot), cornerback Jalen Green (out for at least two more weeks with a dislocated shoulder), safety Caden Sterns (out for at least two more weeks with a knee ligament sprain), and running back Jordan Whittington (running at practice but still out this week with sports hernia). Questionable for this week is Demarvion Overshown (neck). Collin Johnson (hamstring) will be a game time decision and BJ Foster (hamstring) is expected to start Saturday.
Against West Virginia
Texas faces the Mountaineers this week who are in a rebuilding phase. From last year, West Virginia has lost head coach Dana Holgorsen, star quarterback Will Grier, and star wide receiver David Sills. New head Coach Neal Brown brings his “Nascar spread” offense which became his signature as offensive coordinator at Texas Tech. The young team currently struggles at last in the Big XII for total offensive yards and rushing yards. West Virginia leads the series at 5-3. The Longhorns are 6-2 in true road games in the conference. Their record is 5-1 on the road against unranked opponents under Tom Herman.
Expectation and Preview
Texas defense currently ranks fifth in the Big XII, however, they have played two of the nation’s strongest offenses in LSU and Oklahoma State. The Longhorns are second in the FBS on third down conversions at 57%. They also rank third in touchdown drives of ten yards or more. Head Coach Tom Herman intends to keep Smith and Jones on the punt return this week, despite their careless errors at the previous game. The only two schools to have three different players with four touchdown catches this year are Texas and LSU. Texas needs to defend the pass better and be more consistent in the run game. Their injury-ridden secondary will have to stop WVU’s receiver TJ Simmons to pull off a win in Morgantown. Texas is expected to win by ten this week before reloading for Oklahoma.