The Big 12 brings a matchup of .500 teams on the gridiron, one that might be okay with their record and one who should be disappointed by their early showing, in the Lone Star State. It’s the West Virginia Mountaineers making the trip as they travel to face the Texas Longhorns Saturday night. West Virginia comes in off a 33-10 dismantling of Virginia Tech on the road last Thursday, easily covering the 2.5-point spread. Texas ended up falling 37-34 in overtime to Texas Tech on the road, losing outright as a seven-point favorite, last Saturday in their most recent action. In the all-time series between the programs, the Mountaineers own a 6-5 advantage, including a 31-23 home victory in the most recent meeting on November 20, 2021.
West Virginia Mountaineers Look to Earn Road Conference VictoryWest Virginia bounced back from a pair of narrow losses to start the season as they have won two straight entering this one as they hammered Virginia Tech in their previous contest. The Mountaineers now look for a third straight win by prevailing on the road in a conference tilt. West Virginia led 3-0 after the opening quarter and, after trailing 7-3, reeled off 13 unanswered points to lead a 16-7 lead. The Mountaineers led 16-10 after three quarters before outscoring the Hokies 17-0 in the fourth to win going away. West Virginia rolled up a 421-228 edge in total offense, piled up 32 first downs while allowing 14 and dominated time of possession by a 38:44 to 21:16 margin. Each team forced one turnover with the Mountaineers turning their takeaway into seven points as a pick-six.
The Mountaineers are tied for 45th in the nation in passing offense as they average 272.5 yards per game through the air on the year. West Virginia stands 20th in rushing offense as they put up 217.5 yards per contest on the ground this year. The Mountaineers are 15th of 131 FBS teams to play this season in scoring offense with an average of 42.8 points per game. West Virginia is 86th in scoring defense as they allow an average of 27.5 points per game on the year. JT Daniels is 87 of 134 passing for 956 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions on the season. Will Crowder (six of six, 57 yards, TD), Garrett Greene (three of six, 45 yards, 64 rush yards, TD) and Nicco Marchiol (two of four, 32 yards, TD) have all seen limited action. CJ Donaldson leads the team on the ground with 52 carries for 380 yards plus six scores this season. Tony Mathis Jr. (58 carries, 272 yards, two TD) and Justin Johnson Jr. (30 carries, 145 yards, TD) are also in the mix. Bryce Ford-Wheaton is the team’s top receiving threat with 27 catches for 319 yards plus four scores. Kaden Prather (20 receptions, 220 yards, TD) and Sam James (13 catches, 219 yards, two TD) are the only other players to put up at least 100 receiving yards this season. Casey Legg has hit all 17 extra point attempts and eight of eight field goal attempts with a long of 38 on the year. Parker Grothaus is two of three on extra points while not attempting a field goal this season.
Texas Longhorns Hoping to Bounce Back at HomeTexas went on the road and had their chances to beat Texas Tech only to end up falling short in overtime. The Longhorns fell to 2-2 on the season overall and stand 0-1 in the Big 12 so they are trying to bounce back while evening their record in conference play. Against Texas Tech, Texas led 10-7 after the opening quarter and by 24-14 at the half though they needed a 48-yard field goal as time expired in regulation to tie the game and force overtime. In overtime, Bijan Robinson fumbled the ball to end the Longhorns’ possession before the Red Raiders kicked a game-winning field goal on the ensuing possession. Texas was outgained 479-428 in total offense, gave up 31 first downs while picking up 20, lost the time of possession by a 35:06 to 24:54 margin and committed the game’s two turnovers.
On the year, the Longhorns are 73rd in the nation in passing offense as they average 244.8 yards per game through the air while they are 63rd in rushing offense by racking up 165.5 yards per contest on the ground. Texas is 42nd in the FBS in scoring offense as they average 36.5 points per game while they are 55th in scoring defense by allowing 21.8 points a contest. Quinn Ewers is 25 of 36 passing for 359 yards with two touchdowns and one interception though he is out after injuring his shoulder against Alabama on September 10. Hudson Card is 53 of 80 passing for 620 yards with three touchdowns against one interception while adding 56 rushing yards on the year. Bijan Robinson leads the team with 67 carries for 414 yards and seven scores this season. Roschon Johnson (30 carries, 146 yards, TD) is next in line for the Longhorns. Jordan Whittington leads the team with 18 receptions for 199 yards this season. Xavier Worthy (14 catches, team-high 212 yards, TD), Bijan Robinson (eight receptions, 154 yards, TD) and tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders (15 grabs, 134 yards, TD) all have passed the 100-yard mark in receiving yards on the year. Bert Auburn has hit all 17 extra point attempts and nine of 11 field goal attempts with a long of 49 yards this season.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Texas has had issues when it comes to making stops in crunch time. We saw that bite them in the loss to Alabama and then again against Texas Tech. The Longhorns gave up the go-ahead field goal in the final minute of regulation to the Red Raiders before losing in overtime. West Virginia gained confidence in the last two weeks as they stifled Towson and Virginia Tech, allowing a combined 408 yards of offense and 17 points in those two games. Texas has an explosive offensive attack though it’s not quite as dynamic with Card under center instead of Ewers. West Virginia can do damage on the ground and through the air with an experienced signal caller in Daniels. Texas may win this game but it’s closer than the line would indicate. Take the points and the Mountaineers in this contest.
Full-Game Total Pick
West Virginia enters this game having seen the over hit in three of their four contests this season. The Mountaineers have combined with their opposition to put up 69 points (at Pitt), 97 (vs. Kansas), 72 (vs. Towson) and 43 (at Virginia Tech) on the season. Vegas sportsbooks had the totals set at 50, 60, 58.5 and 49.5 points in those contests, respectively, at kickoff. Texas has seen combined totals of 62 points (vs. Louisiana Monroe), 39 (vs. Alabama), 61 (vs. UTSA) and 60 (at Texas Tech) this season. The number for those games according to Vegas were 64, 64.5, 57.5 and 60 points. Both teams have shown a penchant for slowing opposing teams at times while getting lit up on other occasions. With that said, this one might be a little too high. Look for this game to end up under the total by a couple of points.