Texas (5-5, 4-3) will travel to Morgantown on Saturday to face West Virginia (7-3, 5-2). The Longhorns will be in search of their 6th win of the season, which would ensure a bowl game for the first time since 2014. West Virginia needs a win to keep their hopes alive of playing in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Let’s take a look at what to expect from the West Virginia offense:
Florida transfer Will Grier has thrived in his first season as the West Virginia starting quarterback. Grier has thrown for 3440 yards, with 34 touchdowns compared to just 12 interceptions. After several years of Skyler Howard leading the offense, the accuracy and downfield passing ability of Grier has opened up the playbook.
Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital is in his first year as the play caller for the Mountaineers, but is no stranger to Texas. In 2016, Spavital served as the offensive coordinator for Cal and also served as the quarterback coach for West Virginia in 2012. The West Virginia offense will remind a lot of Texas fans of Oklahoma State’s offense. The Mountaineers incorporate various aspects of the Air Raid, but still maintain a strong rushing attack.
2016 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Justin Crawford leads the Mountaineer backfield. Crawford has collected 899 yards on 159 carries with 7 touchdowns. The 6’0 200 pound former junior college standout was named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List prior to the season and is one of the most productive running backs in the Big 12.
Backup Kennedy McCoy rushed for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns in last years matchup against the Longhorns. McCoy has 410 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2017 and is a very similar back to Crawford. This will be the strongest rushing attack Texas has faced since Oklahoma State, and the Longhorns’ defense will hope to have the same success they did against the Cowboys.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
West Virginia boast a deep and talented receivers unit. David Sills has a ridiculous 18 touchdowns on the season, but only ranks 3rd on the team in receiving yards with 856. Junior Gary Jennings leads the team in receiving with 938 yards and has added 1 touchdown. Senior Ka’Raun White has 907 yards with 10 touchdowns. The Mountaineers are the only team in the country to have 2 players with at least 10 receiving touchdowns. The Texas secondary will have their hands full. The suspension of Holton Hill means Texas will lean heavily on Kris Boyd and Davante Davis to slow down what is statistically the top receiving unit in the country.
Elijah Wellman will play as a tight end/fullback hybrid. Wellman is an excellent blocker and moves very well for his 241 pound frame. He has also added 3 catches for 34 yards receiving on the season.
The offensive line for West Virginia has performed well all year. They are led by senior right guard Kyle Bosch, who was a First Team All-Big 12 member in 2016. Right tackle Colton Mckivitz started 10 games as a freshman a season ago and was named to the First Team All-Big 12 Freshman team. The left side of the line is occupied by junior tackle Yodny Cajuste and redshirt freshman guard Josh Sills. Cajuste has had a good year after missing 2016 with a knee injury, and Sills has performed well after taking a redshirt season. The unit is rounded out by sophomore center Matt Jones.
The offensive line has only allowed 15 sacks on the season. Despite some youth and inexperience, the offensive line has never looked over-matched. Former Texas offensive line coach Joe Wickline has his position group playing well.
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