Texas needs to get off to quick start in hostile Morgantown environment

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Texas wins if…

it gets off to a quick start. While West Virginia appears to be the weakest of the remaining opponents on the schedule, Morgantown is a tricky little place to play. Ask Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State, whose only loss of the season came courtesy of the Mountaineers in Milan Puskar Stadium. Texas has never played a game in Morgantown, and the crowd will surely be chaotic to welcome their new conference rivals into their house. The formula for the Longhorns is the same as it has been through their recent stretch of success, ground and pound the opponent to death. With the offensive line’s resurgence and Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown running the ball as well as they have at any point in their career, getting the ground game going early will be key. Nothing drains a raucous crowd more effectively than methodically moving the ball on the ground and putting up points early and often. If Case McCoy can continue to manage the game as well as he has while the running game finds its feet, the Longhorns will be in good shape.

 

Texas loses if…

it lets starting West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett set up shop in the pocket. Before Trickett was inserted as the starting quarterback in the fifth week of the season, the Mountaineers offense was sluggish and inefficient, averaging 18 points per game, culminating in a shutout loss to Maryland. After head coach Dana Holgorsen inserted Trickett into the lineup, the Mountaineers offense quickly improved, immediately leading them to a win against No. 11 Oklahoma State. Since then, the offense has averaged 21.6 points per game. While Trickett won’t be confused for Geno Smith, who led West Virginia to a shootout win over the Longhorns a year ago, he has given the offense some much needed life. On the ground, the Mountaineers are led by Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith, averaging 5.2 and 4.6 yards, respectively. If Cedric Reed, Jackson Jeffcoat and the rest of the defensive line cannot make life tough for Trickett while stuffing the running game, the Mountaineers are sure to pile up some points, inciting a crowd that will already be boisterous. The Longhorns lose if they get behind early and let a shootout unfold in Morgantown.