This Game may not have the same meaning as it did a week ago, but it’s still plenty important in the race for the Big 12 as both Texas and West Virginia are tied with Oklahoma with 4-1 Conference records. since the Mountaineers still have a difficult remaining Schedule, a loss could quickly end their title-Game hopes. The Longhorns were -1.5 point home favorites as of Monday with an over/under of 58 at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Texas was looking like a legit CFP contender and that it got out to a slow start against OK State and ended up losing its second Game last weekend. The Longhorns have the talent to compete with anyone, but they already have two losses and are just hoping for a New Year’s Six bowl at this point. It’s hard to put much into last year’s result that Texas won 28-14 mostly because it was the Game that Will Grier was injured in. He fumbled on the goal line in the first quarter and that was it for the Mountaineers because their only offensive touchdown came in the Fourth quarter. With Grier healthy, this one should look a little different.
Grier may not be in the Heisman conversation anymore already with seven interceptions, but he’s still completing 70.3% of his passes for 25 touchdowns and 10.37 yards per attempt. Those are excellent numbers and he’s got one of the best receiving trios in the nation with David Sills, Marcus Simms and Gary Jennings all with at least 500 receiving yards and combined for 19 of the touchdowns. But the running Game will be key in this one because that will keep their defense off the field. Kennedy McKoy and Leddie Brown haven’t been bad running the ball, but they haven’t been consistent and Texas is only allowing 105 rushing yards per contest. If they can’t move the ball on the ground, similar to last year’s matchup, that would be a problem.
And no matter what Grier and company do, the Longhorns have the offense to put points on the board with Sam Ehlinger at quarterback. He doesn’t have an interception in the last seven Games, but his legs may be the most important part for this offense. The Longhorns ran through the WVU front last season en route to 233 yards on 5.5 yards per carry and that’s going to be their route again. Freshman Keaontay Ingram has been their best running back and should get close to 20 carries as long as Texas isn’t in an early hole.
The main question for this Game is how each of these defenses is going to play. West Virginia stomped on Baylor last weekend, but still hasn’t played an offense like this and was trampled by Iowa State in a 30-14 loss. Texas is still thought to have one of the best defenses in the conference, but struggled in last week’s loss to OK State, which kind of did whatever it wanted en route to 31 first-half points.
The Mountaineers are 4-1-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 5-2 ATS in their last seven overall. The Longhorns are 11-5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 5-2 ATS in their last seven following a straight-up loss. There are no trends in this matchup as the results have been a mixed bag over the years with three of the last Four being decided by 14 points or more.
Our Pick – WVA +2.5