Scenarios: West Virginia

Jillian Kushner

Texas wins if…

The passing game can be established. Once again, this is a huge issue for Texas. Last week against Kansas, the Horns had 299 passing yards. This was a huge game for the quarterbacks to show they can throw. Redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard had 201 passing yards and junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes had the remaining 98 yards. If anything, this 59-20 win over Kansas should give the quarterbacks confidence in their arms. Freshman receiver John Burt led the team with 113 yards in four receptions and one touchdown. Nine different receivers were targeted against Kansas. Heard needs to find his go-to receiver. In Texas terms, Heard needs to find the Shipley to his McCoy. 

Utilize young receivers. There is a lot of talent in the younger receivers like sophomore Dorian Leonard, freshman DeAndre McNeal and freshman Ryan Newsome. Texas has barely utilized these three — Saturday was the fourth time Newsome got the ball this season. Neither Leonard nor McNeal got the ball Saturday, which will only hold Texas back offensively in the future. Leonard is in his second season at Texas, and he only had one reception for seven yards last year. He has not been targeted once this season. McNeal is only in his first year and has zero receptions — he was given a handoff once for nine yards. The offensive style Texas is playing this year is holding receivers back. With all these talented targets, there is no reason the Horns should not be putting up a few hundred passing yards each game. Heard only has four passing touchdowns on the season, which is extremely low. 

They play as a team. For Texas to beat West Virginia, the Horns must unite as a team. In many games this season, only the offense would show up or only the defense would show up or neither would. The offense, defense and special teams must all be there Saturday. Instead of executing as a unit, they must execute as a team. Recently, special teams has executed for Texas. Senior kicker Nick Rose hit all eight PATs against Kansas, as well as a 29-yard field goal. The days of shanked punts from freshman punter Michael Dickson seem to be in the past. 

Texas loses if…

It does not show up prepared. Texas lost every single road game this season and lost by a lot in each game. Away environments factor into Texas’ performance and Morgantown is not an easy place to play. With the fans and the cold weather, the elements will be against the Longhorns. They need to take this game seriously — West Virginia’s team is not a reflection of its record. The Mountaineers 4-4 record should not be taken lightly.