The phrase “Everything’s bigger in Texas” couldn’t ring more true for the West Virginia Mountaineers as the football team travels to Austin for Saturday’s afternoon kick. The Mountaineers are coming off the heels of an offensive explosion over the Baylor Bears while the Texas Longhorns are returning from their loss in Stillwater versus the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Now that West Virginia is in the upper echelon of the Big 12, each of the four remaining November games will have an increasing amount of stakes for the team’s post-season ramifications. First up, a dreaded trip to Austin to take on the Longhorns. Every year over the past few seasons, the television media chooses to point out that “Texas is back,” and this Mountaineers-Longhorns matchup will be a defining moment as to whether Texas is ‘back’ or not.
Mountaineers fans hope to squash that statement and show that the Longhorns are not in fact ‘back.’
Texas has already taken down Big 12 powerhouse Oklahoma this season in the Red River Rivalry, but holes were exposed in the Longhorns loss in Stillwater. The late Saturday night loss could not have come at a better time for the Mountaineers, as the team was resting on the heels of their Thursday night victory giving West Virginia a few extra days to recoup, recover and prepare for the trip to Austin.
Texas’s loss to Oklahoma State showed major holes in the team’s defense, something West Virginia’s Coach Spavital hopefully made quick note of. The Cowboys were able to capitalize on the slow start to the Longhorns D and gained 260 yards in the first half of the game. This is a key takeaway for the Mountaineers as they prepare for the Longhorns. If the Mountaineers come out on offense as quickly as they did versus Baylor, Texas may not be in control of their conference championship destiny for too long.
The Longhorns offense, lead by Sam Ehlinger, was able to mount a second-half comeback following the sluggish defensive play in the first thirty minutes of play, but it was not enough at the end of the day. Coach Tony Gibson will have to prepare his dawgs for an offensive line that is searching for revenge and will be looking to eradicate all memories of what happened in Stillwater.
West Virginia has their eyes on the prize for the last four games of November. Taking the schedule one week at a time, one game at a time; the hopes of playing in Dallas in December are very much still alive. First task to accomplish is handing the Longhorns another conference loss and getting themselves one step closer to a bonus week of football in that post-Thanksgiving haze.
The Mountaineers will suit up against the Longhorns Saturday in Austin in a 2:30 central (3:30 EST) kick. One snap at a time, one game at a time, one week at a time. The Mountaineers are very much still in contention for the Big 12 championship. They say everything is bigger in Texas, but it sure would be nice if the biggest thing Saturday night in Austin was the smiling faces of the victorious Mountaineers.