- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
Campus location: Morgantown, W.Va.
Conference: Big 12
Record: 4-0, 1-0
Record vs. Texas: 1-0
Last game: The Mountaineers put 70 on the board against Baylor in a 70-63 win. The combined 133 points in the game set a record for the Big 12 Conference. The two quarterbacks, WVU’s Geno Smith and Baylor’s Nick Florence, combined for 1,237 yards. That total is only 16 yards shy of the single-game record of total yards thrown for by opposing quarterbacks.
Last meeting with Texas: The two teams' only meeting came back in 1956 in what was Ed Price’s last season before Darrell Royal took over the program. Texas could only manage one touchdown, a five-yard catch from Joe Clements to Walter Fondren. The kick failed. Fondren accounted for 129 yards in the game. The Texas defense held WVU to just 226 yards.
Key player: West Virginia has arguably the most explosive player in the county in Smith. The current Heisman frontrunner threw for 656 yards and only missed on six attempts against Baylor. Smith leads the country in total offense at 456 yards per game. He is also the national leader in pass efficiency at 208.37. On the year Smith has only thrown 28 incompletions in 169 attempts.
Why West Virginia might win: West Virginia has proven time and again it is unstoppable on offense. Texas has proven, time and again, it cannot tackle on defense. That combination heavily favors the Mountaineers. Smith has two receivers, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, who have the ability to take the ball to the end zone on every play. Bailey is second nationally in receiving yards per game and Austin is third.
Why West Virginia might lose: As good as the Mountaineers are on offense, they are equally bad on defense. Baylor is a high-powered team, but to allow the Bears to score 63 points is an indication that defense, both coaching it and recruiting to it, are not a priority for WVU. Texas now has an offense that can put points on the board both through the run game and the pass. Plus the Longhorns are adept at using long, time-consuming drives to score. That means WVU’s offense might not get the touches it needs to score.