Junior running back D’Onta Foreman is leading the nation with an average of 180.75 yards per contest and continues to rise in the ranks after stringing together back-to-back eye-opening performances.
Following a 250-yard outing in Texas’ victory over then No. 8 Baylor on Oct. 29, Foreman decimated the Texas Tech defense in the Longhorns’ 45-37 victory on Saturday — dashing for a career-high 341 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries. Foreman’s 341 rushing yards are the most by a Texas running back since 1998 when Ricky Williams set the single-game record with 350.
As Foreman’s production has skyrocketed, so has the team’s confidence and resilience. After a whirlwind start to the season, Texas seems to be progressing at a steady pace on both ends of the ball, but especially on defense. If the Longhorns continue to follow Foreman’s lead, they have a great shot at picking up their sixth win this weekend against West Virginia.
Pick apart weaknesses
No. 16 West Virginia sits atop the Big 12 in scoring defense, holding opponents to 20.6 points per game. The Mountaineers are 12th in the country in touchdowns allowed with 19 total as they’ve made the end zone unfamiliar territory for even the conference’s high-powered offenses.
But the Mountaineers tend to give opposing quarterbacks an abundance of time in the pocket. Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele is throwing for 250.8 yards per game and continues to lead the Longhorns down the field with poise. Buechele should be able to
drop back with some comfort this weekend and execute plays in the air.
West Virginia’s sole loss this season came at the hands of Oklahoma State. Cowboy quarterback Mason Rudolph had an exceptionally efficient passing performance in the upset, completing 26 of 36 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns.
When the Mountaineers gave Rudolph room, he took advantage, and Buechele needs to do the same.
Make the big stops
After being essentially absent at the beginning of the season, Charlie Strong’s defense has appeared to come to life.
The Longhorns held Patrick Mahomes II, the nation’s leading passer, to 367 passing yards last weekend — a number well below his previous season average of 500. The unit stepped up in the team’s back-to-back victories, charging for a combined nine sacks and 17 tackles for loss. Both victories came down to the final play and the Longhorns made the big stops necessary to seal the deal.
Sophomore linebacker Malik Jefferson led the team with eight tackles, 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss against Texas Tech and sophomore corner Kris Boyd made the game-clinching interception that allowed the Longhorns to clinch their first road win of the season.
Texas needs to make the big stops from start to finish against West Virginia — whether it’s the first or last play of the game.