Unit & Individual Battles As West Virginia Faces Texas
West Virginia vs Texas
West Virginia rushing offense vs. Texas run defense
WVU’s ground attack has been on a rollercoaster this season, going over the 200-yard mark five times in the first nine games, but being held to an average of 91.5 rushing ypg in the other four. In Texas, WVU will be facing a defense that is second in the Big 12 against the run (117.1 ypg). UT held four of its first nine foes to less than 75 rushing yards, but it allowed 263 to Maryland, 140 to Kansas State, 174 to Oklahoma, 146 to Oklahoma State and 177 to TCU. Through nine games, Texas is 0-4 when giving up 145 or more rushing yards and 4-1 when holding foes to less than 145.
West Virginia passing offense vs. Texas pass defense
Like its run defense, the UT defense against the pass has generally been good, rating third in the Big 12 through nine games (250.6 ypg). Big-play passing attacks like USC (397 yards), Oklahoma (344) and Oklahoma State (282) have still found aerial success against UT, but everyone else has been held below 255. WVU’s passing attack (349.9 ypg) is sixth in the FBS ranks. And other than a sub-par 285-yard performance against Oklahoma State, Will Grier and his friends have managed at least 316 against the other eight of their first nine opponents.
Advantage: West Virginia
Texas rushing offense vs. West Virginia run defense
Given the Longhorn running back history, with guys like Earl Campbell, Ricky Williams, D’Onta Foreman, etc., it’s hard to believe UT’s ground game has generally struggled this year. Other than a 406-yard rushing day vs. San Jose State, Texas hasn’t rushed for over 175 yards in any of its other first nine games, and it was limited to less than 100 four times. WVU is far from a stonewall when it comes to run defense (193.1 ypg, 9th in the Big 12). It has allowed six of its first nine foes to run for 160+.
Texas passing offense vs. West Virginia pass defense
WVU’s pass D has been in the middle of the road in the Big 12 (254.9 ypg, 4th in the league), though only three of its first nine foes have thrown for 250+. Texas has a middle of the road Big 12 passing attack (275.7 ypg, sixth in the league).
Texas special teams vs. West Virginia special teams
Texas has one of the best punters in the country in Michael Dickson, whose net punt average of 44.87 is second in the FBS. UT also has a dangerous punt returner in Reggie Hemphill (11.8 ypr).
The Longhorns did win in one of their two previous trips to Morgantown (47-40 in OT in 2013), but overall WVU has won three of five against Texas since joining the Big 12 in 2012. West Virginia has been very good at home the past three seasons, posting a 16-3 mark at Mountaineer Field since 2015. Meanwhile Texas is just 4-10 in true road games in that same time period.
Advantage: West Virginia
After a shocking 51-41 loss to Maryland in the season opener, Texas has been very good on defense. It allowed over 29 points just once in the next eight games, holding those foes to an average of 17.7 ppg. But UT’s offense has struggled this season (28.6 ppg). Points haven’t always come easy for WVU against top-flight defenses, despite its high-flying yardage numbers. But West Virginia should manage enough to push past the offensively-challenged Longhorns.
Predicted Score: West Virginia-31 Texas-24