If there is one thing that has been consistent about the Mountaineers during the 21 season it’s been their inconsistency. Rarely have they been solid in all three phases in a game and last week in their loss to K-State they had break downs in each. Whether it was the tipped pass for a pick on the opening drive, the blocked punt for a touchdown or the defensive targeting penalty follow an interception. They all played a role in the Mountaineers demise.
So now it has come to this — with two games remaining, the Mountaineers must win both to avoid a losing season and become bowl eligible, and I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing they are facing a Texas team that is coming in off an historic loss to Kansas — the Longhorns’ 5th straight defeat.
It has been a key every week and it remains one this week: WVU must be able to run the ball to have success. In last week’s loss they only gained 77 yards on the ground. The good news is, however, in their loss to the Jayhawks, the Longhorns allowed 218 yards and Kansas scored four times on the ground. Controlling the line of scrimmage will be huge in this match up.
The ‘Horns defensively are allowing 32 points per game and have allowed more total yards than any other defense in the conference, so WVU should have plenty of scoring opportunities.
The WVU defense will face a tough challenge to try and slow down the Texas offense, which could be a problem with the Mountaineers thin at Linebacker and safety. In their loss to Kansas, they finished with 574 yards of total offense. Quarterback Casey Thompson threw for 358 yards and six touchdowns, so the WVU defensive backfield will have their work cut out for them. Getting some pressure will be key, in fact Texas quarterbacks have been sacked 30 times this season that’s more than any other team in the conference. WVU will also face one of the best backs in the conference in Bijan Robinson who averages 108 yards a game on the ground and has scored 13 times this year.
The biggest key maybe which team really wants to be there with both programs struggling will the Mountaineers rally behind their seniors in their final home game or will the Longhorns fight to stay bowl eligible and snap their five-game losing streak.