Big 12 Previews

West Virginia vs. Texas: Preview and Prediction

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming matchup between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Texas Longhorns.

GAME INFO

Saturday, October 1, 2022; 6:30 p.m. CT; DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium; Austin, Texas

TV: FS1 (Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman)

Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network (Tony Caridi, Dwight Wallace, Jed Drenning); Longhorn Sports Network (Craig Way, Roger Wallace, Will Matthews)

Records: West Virginia 2-2 (0-1 Big 12); Texas 2-2 (0-1 Big 12)

Last Week: West Virginia 33, Virginia Tech 10; Texas Texas 37, Texas 34 (F/OT)

Rankings: West Virginia unranked; Texas unranked

Series History: West Virginia leads series, 6-5

Last Meeting: West Virginia 31, Texas 23 (2021)

Favorite: Texas (-10)

Fun Fact: The road team in this series has the upper hand, as West Virginia is 4-2 in Austin, and the Longhorns 3-2 in Morgantown.

 

Key Players

Texas Longhorns

QB Quinn Ewers

I’m probably being a bit unfair to Hudson Card here, but Quinn Ewers needs to start this game for Texas in a bad way. It’s not that Texas can’t win without him, I think they could, but its more a matter of the rest of the season. If you are Steve Sarkisian, you don’t want the Red River Showdown being the first taste of action that Ewers has seen in a few weeks, and getting the freshman back in a home environment and opening up the playbook a bit would be beneficial for the Longhorns.

CB D’Shawn Jamison

Texas cornerback D’Shawn Jamison will be busy in this game and will have his hands full with West Virginia wideout Bryce Ford-Wheaton. Jamison is one of the best and most experienced players on Texas’ improved defense. With eight tackles, one interception, and three pass breakups, Jamison is as close to a “lockdown” defender that UT has had in the passing game thus far.

 

West Virginia Mountaineers

WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton

West Virginia’s top offensive weapon through four games, Bryce Ford-Wheaton is a matchup nightmare for Big 12 secondaries. Through four games, Wheaton has recorded 27 receptions for 319 yards and four touchdowns. He will be a focal point for the West Virginia offense on Saturday, and if he get going it could spell trouble for the home team.

DL Dante Stills

Eventually, I will talk about someone other than Dante Stills on the West Virginia defense, but the impact that he has for the Mountaineers up front is undeniable. Stills leads West Virginia in sacks (2.5), is second in TFLs (3.0), but also demands the attention from opposing offensive lines. His play and leadership is extremely important for West Virginia and will continue to be so on Saturday.

 

Key Storylines

Texas Longhorns

Can Texas find a way to win close games? We have seen this song and dance before: Texas gets a double-digit lead and finds a way to squander it in the second half. I started drinking the Kool-Aid two weeks ago when I saw Texas put the UTSA game out of reach in the third quarter, but the same problems that we saw from Sarkisian teams last season came back in last week’s loss to Texas Tech. They’d better get it figured out, or this season might start to spiral out of control in a league that is seemingly much tougher than it was a year ago.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Last week against Virginia Tech, the Mountaineers were able to pull out a decisive victory over the Hokies. Now, can they build on that win and start to play some better football down the stretch? J.T. Daniels is good enough to get this team to a bowl game, but they will need to get a win in Austin this week to start creeping towards that goal. A loss, and things could get going in the wrong direction again.

Prediction: Texas 31, West Virginia 30

These teams are in very similar situations and the loser will be the unquestioned No. 10 team in the league going into next week at 0-2 in Big 12 play. In a close game, I think that Quinn Ewers and Bijan Robinson find a way to lead Texas to a nail-biting win. However, I could see this game going either way and if West Virginia is able to grab some second half momentum, watch out.

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