Gridiron Girl Game Preview: West Virginia

Up next for the ‘Horns: the Mountaineers of West Virginia University. As the newest addition to the Big 12, WVU brings its mountaintop removal potent offense to Austin this weekend. Game time is 7 p.m. EST. Do the math; you know where you live. It will be early in the afternoon for me as I settle down to enjoy the game and scream a lot.

The game is on Fox, a station my TV receives, so there was much rejoicing. Last week I forgot to mention the stress inflicted on my dog. I think C (my daughter) and I wore her out last Saturday with all the screaming and gnashing. She says she’s ready to go for Saturday, though. I asked her if the ‘Horns would win. She simply said, “Jeah.”

She’s a big Ryan Lochte fan.

So what do we know about the WVU Mountaineers? They sure do love John Denver, for one thing. After home victories, fans remain in the stands and sing “Country Roads” along with the players. And John Denver himself performed in 1980 when the stadium was dedicated.

Did you catch any of that game last week against Baylor? Those have to be some of the most dedicated fans around. Each section of the stadium alternated blue and yellow. It’s like they coordinated it or something. Honestly, it was very eye-catching. My eyeballs were caught.

Also interesting: WVU holds 14 NCAA Rifle Championships. Its football team has an overall record of 700 wins, 457 losses, and 4 ties, making them the winningest Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team to never win a national championship. The one year they went? Lost to Florida. Time to make some fart noises.

When I was reading about WVU, I got all misty-eyed. The school holds Mountaineer Week every year, a tradition that started in 1947. They pay homage to their Appalachian roots. These folks are hillbillies—but in a nice way. They even have a beard-growing contest! And they crown Mr. and Mrs. Mountaineer. Doesn’t that conjure up images of buckskin-clad pioneers and hardscrabble folks, trying to eke out an existence in a beautiful but hostile place? No? Okay, it’s just me then.

I also read about their fans being compared to “soccer hooligans.” Hmmm. Seems they, like Tech fans, enjoy throwing all kinds of stuff on the field during the game. They also like to set couches on fire. LOLWUT? Look, Texas fans know how to tailgate and can have a great time without setting used furniture alight.

True story: Once I was walking to the stadium, past all the state parking lots where folks like to tailgate. I saw a group of students with a full living room set up—TV, tables, and…wait a minute…my old couch! It had distinctive fabric, a telltale stain on the back from a dog (don’t ask), and I had recently taken it to the dump. That’s right, THE DUMP. These folks partied so hard they used dump furniture. But no one set it on fire, yo.

Now let’s talk stats. Both teams come into the game with 4-0 records. WVU is ranked at number nine, and Texas at 11. Last week there was a real barn-burner between WVU and Baylor. The two teams combined for more than 1,500 yards of offense and 67 first downs. Geno Smith, WVU quarterback and Heisman front-runner, threw 45 completions out of 51 pass attempts and eight touchdowns. Quick math lesson: Smith threw fewer incompletions than touchdowns. That, ladies, is a scary statistic!

Ultimately, this offensive slug-fest ended with a WVU victory, 70-63. That’s a difference of one touchdown, y’all. Baylor was ranked number 25 and put up quite a fight, at least on offense. Apparently, though, these guys played defense for WVU.

Last week, the Texas offense had some uncertain moments but ultimately came away with a win over Oklahoma State. Lead by David Ash, the ‘Horns showed great poise and maturity during the game, playing on the road in a hostile environment. The defense showed some real weaknesses, leading to my vapors flaring up and causing me to consume some wine. Okay, a lot.

Manny Diaz has his work cut out for him this week with the defense. They continue to give up big plays, including allowing opponents to score five touchdowns of 44 yards or longer. Against a QB like Smith, this just won’t work.

The ‘Horns must tighten up those trouble spots—like actually tackling the other team’s players. Coach Brown commented in an interview that he might be changing out defensive starters this week, since some players have consistently missed tackles. That’s simply not acceptable at this point. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin are WVU’s top receivers and will be a double threat to the Texas secondary.

Good news/bad news time. Bad news? Malcolm Brown injured his ankle in last week’s game and is out against WVU. Good news? Joe Bergeron and my spirit animal, Johnathan Gray, can pick up any slack, and we can have a healthy Brown for the Oklahoma game.

Texas is this week’s favorite by 6.5 points. Does that mean they’ll score 106.5 points? We’ll see! Gamble wisely, children. The over/under on this game is 75, meaning you can bet whether the combined score will be either over or under 75. Considering last week’s score in the Baylor-WVU game, that’s downright reasonable.

Until next time—Hook ’em!

The program from a 1956 Texas-West Virginia match-up, which also occurred on Oct. 6. The Longhorns lost the game 7-6.

Photo courtesy Texas Gamedayr. 


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