Keys to the Game: Continuing to run the ball, stop run key in road test against West Virginia

Matt Warden

Keep Running the Ball

Texas ran the ball 44 times for 221 yards against Kansas, the third game in a row the Longhorns have won running the ball at least 40 times. Malcolm Brown re-established himself as a key member of the Texas backfield with a four-touchdown performance against the Jayhawks and Case McCoy was able to remain calm in the pocket as a result. Although it is a very simple key, when the Longhorns carry the ball more often, they win more often. They are now No. 29 in the nation in rushing, proving they can make the most of all the carries. West Virginia’s defense has given up a lot of points this season and if Texas can wear the Mountaineers down with the run, look for McCoy to throw some deadly deep balls.


Force the Mountaineers to Pass

As a unit, the Mountaineers quarterbacks have completed just 54.2 percent of their passes this season with 10 interceptions and only 11 touchdowns. The Texas defense has forced six turnovers in the last three games and should look to do the same against West Virginia by forcing it to pass. Although the Mountaineers have some deep threats in their receiving corps, the quarterbacks have had a tough time staying consistent and will likely look to run the ball to find success. The Longhorns should pressure relentlessly and make West Virginia rush throws, tilting the odds even further in the Longhorns favor.


Don’t Underestimate West Virginia

It would be dumb of the Longhorns to underestimate any opponent at this point in the year given their early struggles, but the Mountaineers record doesn’t tell the whole story of their level of play. West Virginia is only 4-5 on the season but has kept games close in shootouts with other Big 12 opponents. They have a solid running back leading their offense and a few receivers that can make plays if the defense falls asleep. The West Virginia defense is giving up 30 points per game this season but has a few stars in the secondary that can make things difficult for McCoy if he is even slightly off. If Texas views West Virginia as another tough conference opponent, its win streak should continue.