Gameday Preview: West Virginia

 

Gameday Preview: West Virginia

Rebecca May, BA ’91, Life Member, is a Texas ex-pat living in Oregon while rooting for the Longhorns. An attorney by day, she blogs about college football by night as a regular contributor to gridirongirl. This post contains the opinions of one contributing writer; they do not reflect the views of the Texas Exes’ staff, board, or membership.

Greetings, Horns faithful! Did you miss me? I will pretend you did, and perhaps shed a tear when you saw a new post from me.

First, let’s catch up. I haven’t yet commented on TCU or Kansas at all. So this post will be a combination of pre- and post-game musings with other comments thrown in, all mushed together. Sorta like a turducken. You know, that Thanksgiving meat bonanza monstrosity consisting of a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey (or some combination thereof)?

How about that TCU game? It was great while it lasted on my teevee machine. Then the rains came, and Noah brought out the ark and took the players, two by two, back into the locker rooms. Once play resumed, it was piped through regional Fox affiliates. Out here, that meant no Texas game. I ended up listening to the rest of the game online, courtesy of TexasSports.com, a service I was very happy to spend my American dollars on. How about that surprise appearance by Tyrone Swoopes? Well played, Coach Brown. Texas went on to steamroll TCU and apply a convincing beatdown. Final score, 30-7.

What does this mean, having Swoopes come into the game at this point in the season? It’s my position that David Ash is probably done for the year. There are concerning reports about the lingering effects of his head injury. He’s still experiencing symptoms, not practicing, and losing weight. I assume Swoopes is needed to fill the backup role, until he gets his sea legs and the starting spot.

Let’s also spend a moment on last week’s game against Kansas. It was on the dreaded Longhorn Network, meaning I would again not be seeing the Horns with mis propios ojos. The Texas offense came out flat. They did not play in the same inspired fashion as the weeks prior. I’m OK with that. If they had to have an “off” game, let it be against Kansas. There were interceptions. Well-known spirit animal Johnathan Gray could not get into a rhythm. But Malcolm Brown, holy moly! I was tweeting during the game, trying to come up with a nickname for Brown. Browndozer? No, sounds gross. Bleacher Report to the rescue; they referred to him as “Touchdown Brown,” and that’s a moniker that should stick. He had an astounding four rushing TDs.

The Texas D is the real story here. They continue to improve every week under the wise tutelage of Gandalf the White Greg Robinson. He’s gotta be weaving some great magic there. And how about Chris Whaley? He’s a delight on the field, busting plays and scooping up fumbles for TDs.

Deep breath! Let’s talk about the upcoming contest with the West Virginia Mountaineers. There was some heavy-duty trash talk on Twitter over the weekend by some WVU fans. They’re convinced that WVU will have such a home-field advantage that they will steamroll Texas on Saturday.

Texas comes into this contest a 6.5-point favorite and sitting atop the Big 12 standings. Last year, the Mountaineers brought their coonskin caps to Austin and beat Texas, barely, 48-45. That was a hard one, folks!

The WVU defense ranks 111th against the pass. Sounds good, but Texas has had some miscues through the air, primarily with the long ball. The short passing plays, over the middle, could be used effectively. Calling Jaxon Shipley! WVU is much stronger defending against the run. Regardless, Texas has to stay true to its ground game and run it right down their throats until something gives. And it will. Texas has too many potent offensive weapons.

WVU has its own potent offensive weapon in senior running back Charles Sims. He’s racked up 1,054 yards and seven TDs so far this season. The defense will need to bring its “A” game, as this rushing offense is likely better than what the Horns have faced as of late. Fundamentals need to be there for a Longhorn victory.

Two big intangibles for me in this game: home-field advantage and the weather. This is a big game for the 4-5 Mountaineers, coming in with a 2-4 conference record (ouch). The crowd could be a huge factor. As for the weather, the predicted temperature around game time is 42 degrees. Will Texas be able to play in the (relatively) cold weather? I assume it’s more difficult to play on a field where the temps are 100+ and the sun is baking your brain. Once the players get warmed up, I don’t think the weather will be a factor.

Ultimately, Texas’ talent will outlast the Mountaineers. I predict Texas by at least two touchdowns, and we’ll see more action from Swoopes. Kickoff is 7:00 p.m. EST on Fox. Watch to see how many mistakes the announcers make! Create a drinking game. Not that I would know anything about that…

Until we meet again, Gentle Readers. Keep your horns up! Hook ’em!

Photo by Patrick Meredith. Courtesy UT Athletics.

 

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