- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
Numbers, it's said, rarely lie. With that thought in mind, HornsNation -- with a healthy assist from the ESPN Stats and Info crew -- will dig into the numbers each week and pull three stats that could play a significant role in the outcome of Texas' game. This week the focus is on West Virginia, quarterback Geno Smith and the high powered Mountaineers offense.
West Virginia has 27 touchdown passes in its last five games -- dating back to the Orange Bowl of 2011 -- which is nine more that any other FBS team. Baylor is second with 18. One other thing to consider when looking at the explosiveness of the WVU offense is that in that five game span it has put up 70 points twice. They did it in the Orange Bowl against Clemson and last week against Baylor.
Texas has lost seven games in a row to ranked opponents and four of those losses have come by double digits. The reason for the losses does not appear to be offensive production. Texas has outgained its opponent by an average of 13 yards in each of those games. It’s the turnovers. Texas is –15 in turnovers in those games. This season Texas has only turned the ball over twice and has only allowed three points off those turnovers. On the flip side the Longhorns have scored 49 points off the turnovers it has created.
As for games against top-10 teams, Texas has played five since the 2009 title game. It won one game against Nebraska in 2010. Texas won the turnover battle in that game, gaining a fumble in the first quarter that it turned into a touchdown.
Texas is allowing 6.8 rushes of 10 yards or more per game. That’s the worst in the Big 12 and the third worst among BCS-AQ teams. Miami allows 7.2. Indiana allows 7.0. Baylor, which just gave up 70 to West Virginia, only allows 5.5.
When looking at that stat it is not hard to see why then Texas has slipped so far in the overall rush defense category. The Longhorns only allowed 96.2 rush yards per game and 3.1 rush yards per attempt in 2011. This year, Texas has allowed 180 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per rush. Plus last season there were 45 rushes of 10 yards or more in 13 games. This year there have been 27 rushes of 10 yards or more in four games.
A lot of that has to do with the youth at linebacker. Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson were fifth-year seniors. Texas is without a healthy Jordan Hicks and has to rely on sophomore Steve Edmond and inexperienced junior Demarco Cobbs at linebacker.