The West Virginia Mountaineers and Texas Longhorns meet in Austin at Texas Memorial Stadium for a Big 12 showdown. Texas is coming off a nail biter in Stillwater against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. They pulled it out, but needed overtime after Oklahoma State staged a late drive to kick a field goal and tie the game at 34-34.
Texas responded, though, and escaped with a 41-34 win. Good win for Texas, but I’ve considered Oklahoma State a fairly overrated team. I was on Texas last week largely because I didn’t trust Oklahoma State.
There are still holes to cover up on defense if you’re the Longhorns. They are not competing with the top teams in the nation with their defense. It’s unfortunate for Sam Ehlinger, who is a good quarterback, but stuck on a team that is spotty on the other side of the ball.
Patrick Mahomes might be the biggest victim of being a good quarterback on a team with a bad defense when he was at Texas Tech. Ehlinger is sort of going through the same thing. This is a Texas team that prided itself around an aggressive defense in the 2000’s.
Texas hired Tom Herman to get this defense getting back to that era. He’s been here since 2017 and I haven’t seen it. If I were a Texas fan my patience would be running thin. There’s no reason why they should have needed 63 points to beat Texas Tech in September. But that’s the nature of current Texas football.
They need all of the offense they can to win games, which didn’t happen in a 53-45 loss against their rivals, the Sooners, in the Red River Showdown. The one fundamentally sound game I’ve seen from the Longhorns’ defense was against a mediocre Baylor offense two weeks ago.
The Mountaineers have prided themselves on their defense this season. That’s rare for a Big 12 team, but it’s refreshing to see. West Virginia quickly went from an offensive team with Will Grier at the controls at quarterback to more of a well-balanced team that prefers to play the ball possession game. Against a team without a defense like Texas, that could work in their favor for the Mountaineers. Head below for our free West Virginia vs. Texas pick for November 7, 2020.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Texas Longhorns NCAAF Betting Odds:
West Virginia vs. Texas Prediction:
Sam Ehlinger has passed for 20 touchdowns and 5 interceptions with a 60.3% completion percentage. I’d like to see him completing more passes. He’s getting close to falling under 60%, which would not look good in the eyes of scouts. Ehlinger’s ability to scramble and pick up yards with his legs is an asset. He’s gained 284 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. Ehlinger will get some looks in the NFL, but I’m not really certain where the right time to select him would be.
He could become a first-round prospect, though I just don’t see it. I’d be careful if I were an NFL team selecting him too high. If I had to guess, Ehlinger likely turns into a good backup in the league. Colt McCoy has made a good living at being a backup, so it wouldn’t be that bad of a career if he lasted that long.
The Longhorns have moved the ball at an impressive clip this season. They’re averaging 449.5 yards and 44.3 points per game. Wins against UTEP and Texas Tech certainly skew their numbers in their direction. UTEP and Texas Tech would likely have issues against high school offenses, so that helped bumped Texas’ offensive numbers.
Against a better Baylor and Oklahoma State defense, they weren’t able to run free all over the field. Ehlinger threw 3 touchdowns versus Oklahoma State, but only recorded 169 yards. Note that Oklahoma State dominated in yardage in that game. Spencer Sanders passed for 400 yards, and the Cowboys outgained Texas 530 yards to 287 yards. Oklahoma State turnovers were ultimately the difference maker.
West Virginia ranks fourth in the nation with 255.7 yards conceded per game. They’ve given up 19.8 points per game. For a Big 12 defense, that’s pretty astonishing to achieve. West Virginia held Oklahoma State to just 139 yards and 1 interception through the air earlier in the season.
Bowling Green transfer, Jarret Doege, has been fine at quarterback with 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions on 64.2% completions. West Virginia might have scored only 13 points versus Oklahoma State, but they should find success in Austin. I’m taking the points in a tight game.