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Defense/Special Team Grades: West Virginia

Photo: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

It was another good performance by the Longhorns defense on Saturday in a 28-14 win over West Virginia. The Mountaineers struggled moving the ball on the Texas defense after Will Grier exited the game with a finger injury. Let’s take a look at how the Longhorns defense and special teams graded out.

Defensive Line

Poona Ford was his usual self in the middle of the line, taking on double teams and still causing havoc in the backfield. Charles Omenihu and Malcolm Roach also had solid games and have improved against the run greatly from a season ago. Chris Nelson isn’t making as many plays as I thought he would make before the season started, but the junior is giving the defense quality snaps and was rewarded with a big fumble recovery in the 4th quarter.

The targeting/roughing the passer call against Breckyn Hager is going to be heavily scrutinized by a lot of Longhorn fans, but the fact of the matter is Texas is going to miss him in the first half against Tech. Hager is playing the best football of his career right now, and is no longer a liability against the run like in past years.

Grade: A-

Linebacker

Malik Jefferson and Gary Johnson played another great game. Johnson always finds himself around the football and Jefferson had several plays that showed why is going to be in the NFL next year.
The duo was excellent against the run and Johnson forced several bad throws with his pressure on the quarterback.

Grade: B+

Defensive Back

The Texas secondary can hang their hat on the fact that David Sills was held to 2 catches for a mere 47 yards. Kris Boyd played an excellent game. Devante Davis had his moments of struggles, including allowing the only West Virginia offensive touchdown, but finished with a team leading 7 tackles. Davis is not playing at the level Holton Hill was, but he looked better than he did against Kansas.

Deshon Elliott had an outstanding game, including a huge tipped pass on a 4th down that would have been a touchdown. Brandon Jones had his best play of the season on a hustle play that forced a Will Grier fumble. Jones had his struggles against the pass and needs to improve on finding the football while it is in the air.

Grade: B-

Special Teams

Tom Herman had the luxury of not having to attempt a field goal. Michael Dickson averaged 43 yards per punt and continued his impressive season.

Reggie Hemphill Mapps averaged 7.5 yards on 2 punt returns.

Grade: A-

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Jameson McCausland is a senior Sports Management major at the University of Texas. He is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time.

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