The Horns survived their first true test of the season by pulling out a big win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater last Saturday.Â This weekend the team hosts the West Virginia Mountaineers and a high-powered offense that will, lightly put, test the Texas defense.Â We’ve got our own paradigm on how things will shake out when it’s all said and done but we wanted to get the West Virginia side of things.Â We reached out to our good pals at EersAuthority.com to answer a few questions Longhorn fans have in anticipation of the showdown on Saturday.
HS:Â We last talked with you guys before the team had played a down inÂ the new conference.Â How does Mountaineer nation feel about the teamÂ playing in the Big 12 now?
EA:Â I think the answer to the question a couple months ago was Mountaineer fans were relieved. I think they were relieved to be out of the Big East and into a conference more reputable. Today, I’d classify the feeling as excited. Â Being in Morgantown for the inaugural Big 12 game last week against Baylor the temperature was different – a different buzz and excitement to be in the conference.
HS:Â If you are Dana Holgorsen, what concerns do you have about thisÂ Texas team?
EA:Â Well, that they’re really good.Â This is arguably WVU’s toughest road game ever. I think Texas has the perfect combination of speed, athleticism and talent.
HS:Â While Geno Smith gets the majority of the hype on the team, theÂ West Virginia wide receivers are in a class of their own as well.Â WhoÂ are the assets at receiver that Texas needs to be cognizant of and why?
EA:Â I made the comment after the Baylor game that it’s not often a wide receiver catches 13 passes for 200+ yards and 2 touchdowns and be the 3rd best wideout on the field. But that’s exactly what happened to Tavon Austin after last week. The Mountaineers have a trio of front-line receivers in Austin, Stedman Bailey and J.D. Woods. Austin is known for speed in the slot, Bailey for route-running and being a deep threat and Woods for his excellent hands.
HS:Â West Virginiaâ€™s starting running back Shawne Alston has missed the last few gamesÂ with an injury.Â Is Alston expected to be good to go against Texas?
EA:Â We’ve heard mixed reports on Alston. One source has told us that if Alston is available he’ll be “extremely limited.” That’s a definite concern for the Mountaineers. That leave Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison (who’s still recovering from knee surgery) and the only experienced backs.
HS:Â We know the WVU offense can sling it, but howâ€™s the Mountaineer defense?
EA:Â The WVU defense is a concern. Those inside the program will tell you the 63 points they surrendered to Baylor isn’t necessarily indicative of the defense. However, the truth is there are a lot of question marks on that side of the ball. It’s a defense with a new scheme, new starters and several true freshmen. I think the attitude of the defense is to stay in games, create a few turnovers, and give the offense a chance in the end.
HS:Â Under what circumstances will Geno Smith NOT win the Heisman?
EA:Â The only way I see Geno Smith not winning the Heisman is for West Virginia to lose multiple games. His numbers are already worthy, and I wouldn’t expect him to slow down anytime soon. With the weapons surrounding him, and an offense tailored to putting up numbers, Geno should continue to roll.
HS:Â Letâ€™s hear your score prediction for the game this weekend.
EA:Â This is the game WVU has long awaited. Â A game where, quite frankly, the team and the season can be legitimized with a win. Â However, going on the road, at night, in Austin, isn’t going to be easy.Â I think WVU will score points. And I actually feel the defense will perform better than last week against Baylor. But will it be enough? I think it will be. I think this is a West Virginia team determined to prove their worth. I expect Geno Smith to have another top performance to lead WVU to a 43-38 win.
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