Big 12 college football action on Saturday afternoon and the Texas Longhorns will square off with the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. The Longhorns are now 4-3 in the Big 12 after topping Kansas at home by a score of 42-27, while the Mountaineers have improved to 5-2 in league play after beating Kansas State 28-23 on the road. These teams met last year at Texas and West Virginia won that game by a score of 24-20.
Texas Struggles To Put Kansas Away
The Texas Longhorns were just 5-7 in each of the last two years and so they brought in Tom Herman to change the culture and bring back winning football to Texas. Well, that hasn’t happened yet as they are just 5-5 so far after many expected them to play for a league title this year. They started the season by losing by 10 at home to Maryland and were never able to recover from that. They have come up with a few nice wins, but have also had a few bad ones as well. This past week they took on a Kansas team that was winless in league play and they won the game by just 15. They were 32 point favorites at game time. They just couldn’t put the team away and they outgained the Jayhawks by just seven yards. Their defense has been the strength of the team this year, but they allowed a weak Kansas offense 364 yards in the game, including 268 yards through the air. They must get their defense back on track against one of the best offenses in the Nation in this one. The Longhorns put up just 371 yards on a very bad Kansas defense, including just 113 yards on the ground. Shane Buechele hit 22/32 passes for 24 yards with a TD and an INT in the game and he will need to have a big game if the Longhorns hope to keep up with the high-powered Mountaineers.
The Longhorns have been above average on offense so far this year as they come in ranked 57th in the nation in total offense (409.2 ypg), 31st in passing (273.9 ypg), 96th in rushing (135.3 ypg) and 57th in scoring at 29.9 ppg. On defense, they have been solid as they come in ranked 40th in total yards allowed (367.3 ypg), 101st against the pass (252.3 ypg) and 12th vs the run (115.0 ypg), while allowing 21.9 ppg, which is 33rd in the nation.
Mountaineers Take Down Wildcats On The Road
The West Virginia Mountaineers still have a shot at playing in the Big 12 Title game as they are in a three-way tie for 2nd place in the league at 5-2. They must win this game to stay alive. They are now 7-3 on the year overall after taking out the Kansas State Wildcats on the road last week by a score of 28-23. They now look to keep it going against an inconsistent Texas squad and they have gone 4-12 at home for the year, with their lone home loss coming by a score of 50-39 to Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers have a very good offensive game against a good Kansas State defense as they rolled up 492 yards of total offense including 372 yards through the air. Will Grier hit 27 of 46 passes for 3423 yards with four TDs and two INTs in the game. He has had a great season so far as he has thrown for 3440 yards with 34 TDs and 12 INTs on the year. He is 3rd in the nation in passing and will look to have a big game against a poor Texas pass defense. If he has a big game then this could be a rather easy win for the Mountaineers. Gary Jennings is his favorite target and he is 10th in the nation in receiving with 938 yards.
West Virginia has been very strong on offense this year as they come into this game ranked 6th in the nation in total offense (514.4 ypg), 5th in passing (352.1 ypg), 65th in rushing (162.3 ypg) and 14th in scoring at 39.0 ppg. On defense, they have not been that great as they come in ranked 102nd in total yards allowed (436.4 ypg), 92nd against the pass (245.3 ypg) and 95th vs the run (191.1 ypg), while allowing 29.2 ppg, which is 82nd in the nation.
- 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game
- 0-5 ATS in their last five games in November
West Virginia is:
- 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games in November
- 3-1-1 ATS in their last five home games
The Texas Longhorns need this game as they are looking to become bowl eligible, but it will not be easy as the Mountaineers are playing for a spot in the Big 12 Title game. Texas has been very inconsistent this year and they didn’t play all that well last week against lowly Kansas. Their defense is what leads them, but they are 101st in the nation against the pass and the Mountaineers are 5th in the nation in passing. I feel that they just won’t be able to stop this offense enough to get the cover or the win and I also feel that they just don’t have enough on offense to do the same. The Mountaineers are the play here as they keep their hopes alive of playing in the Big 12 Title game.
Pick: West Virginia -3
The Longhorns are not a great offensive team and they have been getting a lot of inconsistent play from the QB position. The Mountaineers have no offensive woes, while their defense has been suspect at times. West Virginia will put plenty of points on the board against a Texas team that is 101st in the nation in pass defense. The Texas offense should have a decent showing against a West Virginia defense that has been less than stellar this year. West Virginia home games have averaged 71 ppg and I will look for at least 63 in this one.