Sat 11/9 7:00 PM ET
Mountaineer Field at
Milan Puskar Stadium
TCU 30-27 W
Kansas 35-13 W
Series: WVU 2-0
First Meeting: 1956
Last Meeting: 2012
Texas has a reputation for plucking some choice recruits from other states, but the numbers on its most recent roster don't bear that assumption out. Of the 120 players listed, how many hail from outside the Lone Star State? And for bonus points, how many come from other countries.
ON THE EDGE
A year ago, Texas had a talented defensive line, but injuries and underachievement kept it from being a dominant force. This year, the script has been flipped. The Longhorns have started the same four defensive linemen in every game, and the results have been outstanding.
Defensive end Cedric Reed and Buck Jackson Jeffcoat have been particularly impressive. Reed leads the team with 54 tackles, and has 11 TFLs and five sacks included in those stops. He's also broken up four passes and forced three fumbles – one of only three players in the nation with the five-four-three combination. Jeffcoat is right behind, having recorded 44 tackles (12 for loss) and six sacks.
West Virginia will have to figure out a way to neutralize the rampaging pair if it hopes to give quarterback Clint Trickett time to throw. He's shown a tendency to try to roll outside away from pressure, but he'll have to step up inside their rush at times to keep them from pushing him deeper into the backfield.
While West Virginia's numbers don't show massive improvement, the defense has played better at times during this season. The fact that any increase in efficiency is seen at all is something of a miracle, given the shuffling that has occurred across the unit this year due to injury and the search for performance upgrades.
A quick scan of just the starting lineups this year shows 17 different players have been on the field for the first defensive snap of at least one game. At least 29 have played at least one defensive snap from scrimmage, with only one of them having appeared in a blowout situation.
CHANGE IN MID-STREAM
Most coaching changes that occur in mid-year don't yield immediate results, but the hiring\elevation of Greg Robinson to defensive coordinator has coincided with better UT defensive play.
Even more impressively, Texas has done this without linebacker Jordan Hicks, who was lost for the season after suffering an Achilles tendon rupture against Kansas State.
Dana Holgorsen has had numerous players with season records of 1,000 yards rushing or receiving, or 3,000 yards passing, but only one player has a chance to join any of those groups this year. Running back Charles Sims has 754 rushing yards this year, and would need to average 82 yards per game in WVU's final three regular season games to get to 1,000. If the Mountaineers make it to a bowl game, he would need to gain only 62 per contest.
Through nine games, WVU trails its opponents in nearly every major statistical category. Only in the punting game (net punting and punt return average) do the Mountaineers hold an edge.
EVERYBODY GETS A TROPHY
Texas bestows 14 awards at its annual football banquet, and many of those include multiple winners. Last year 24 such awrds were handed out, including one for rehabilitation seven for most spirited and three for tenacity.
Just 12 players on the roster come from states other than Texas. The Longhorns also feature two players with listed hometowns outside the U.S: placekicker Michael Davidson of Aberdeen, Scotland and defensive end Logan Vimont of Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia.