Head coach Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns enter the final three-game stretch in a situation strikingly similar to last season. Once again, they’re 4-5 and considered the underdogs entering a battle against a tough West Virginia team, while two wins in three games are the requirement for bowl eligibility, with a daunting season finale awaiting.
Last season, the Longhorns managed a 33-16 upset over the ranked Mountaineers in Austin, but unfortunately for Texas, they’re in Morgantown this time around, which isn’t the most ideal atmosphere to obtain the first road win on the season.
I’ll spare you the in-depth preview, as BON’s head honcho, Wescott Eberts, has already taken care of that task for more knowledgeably than I could. But here’s a few interesting tidbits and matchups the Longhorns must come out on top of in hopes of reaching .500 on the season:
- Both Texas and West Virginia are 4-5 on the season. The desperation factor is now in play for each of their postseason aspirations.
- The Longhorns defense has accrued 23 sacks over the last four games, and 30 on the season -- a feat that ranks 7th among FBS programs. West Virginia ranks 102nd in sacks allowed percentage (8%).
- Texas 3rd down conversation rate (35.4%) ranks 102nd, while West Virginia's defense allowing third-down conversions on only 31 percent of attempts ranks 19th in FBS.
- Texas' rush defense (89th in FBS) is allowing 187.2 yards per game, and will be tasked with slowing down a backfield duo in Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell, who are churning out 220-plus yards per game.
Until the Horns’ offense proves it can put points up against a formidable defense, especially on the road, it’s hard to give them the edge, even if the game might seem like a close match up otherwise.
Prediction: West Virginia 27, Texas 21
How to watch, listen, and stream
TV: ESPNU, 11 a.m. CT
Radio: The Longhorn IMG Radio Network Broadcast, and participating affiliates
Online Streaming: WatchESPN (video), TexasSports.com (audio)
Weather: High of 47 degrees / Low of 33 degrees / Precipitation 0%
Odds: West Virginia (-9)