Opponents to watch: Doege, Fields II lead way for Mountaineers

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of WVU Athletics | Daily Texan Staff

Like Texas, the West Virginia Mountaineers are sitting at 4–2 on the season and are riding high after upsetting the then-No. 16 Kansas State Wildcats last Saturday. Despite being ranked No. 8 in the Big 12 Football Media Preseason Poll, the Mountaineers have clawed and scratched their way to No. 4 at the midseason mark behind a stout defense and surprisingly good quarterback play. After the Longhorns’ miraculous victory in Stillwater, Oklahoma, last weekend, Saturday’s contest has all the fixings for a trap game.

Here are four Mountaineers to watch for Saturday:

No. 2 Jarret Doege — Quarterback
Jarret Doege relieved then-starter Austin Kendall during a loss to Texas Tech in November 2019 and hasn’t looked back since. The redshirt junior quarterback has piloted the Mountaineers to a 4–2 record this season and is second in the Big 12 in passing with 281.7 yards per game. He has also tossed 11 touchdown passes compared to only three interceptions. The 6-foot-2-inch, 208-pound signal-caller out of Lubbock is a huge reason the Mountaineers are averaging 33 points per game this season compared to only 20.6 last year. Look for Doege to attempt to take the top off of a Texas defense that gave up 400 passing yards against Oklahoma State.  

No. 4 Leddie Brown — Running back
A junior out of Philadelphia, Leddie Brown has been a pleasant surprise for a Mountaineer offense that averaged only 73.3 rushing yards per game in 2019. Brown is second in the Big 12 in both rushing yards with 694 and touchdowns with eight. The 5-foot-11-inch, 210-pound back was referred to as the “Baddest Man in Morgantown” by announcer Gus Johnson during a game against the Kansas Jayhawks on Oct. 17. Brown has more than earned that nickname this season, as he leads the team in rushing and is fourth on the team in receiving yards. After several busted coverages allowed Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard to snag four catches and a touchdown, look for West Virginia coach Neal Brown to get his running back involved in the passing game.

No. 90 Akheem Mesidor — Defensive line
West Virginia’s sack leader is not All-Big 12 first team senior defensive lineman Darius Stills, but true freshman Akheem Mesidor. The 6-foot-2-inch, 268-pounder out of Ottawa, Ontario, has compiled four sacks and 19 total tackles in six games. Thus far, Mesidor has more than lived up to his three-star ranking as a recruit. Mesidor also has entrenched himself as a mainstay on the Mountaineers’ defensive line after starting the season as a backup. While he is still raw in the fundamentals of the game after playing mostly defensive end in high school, Mesidor has a high motor and consistently plays at maximum effort. Look for Mesidor to cause disruption in the backfield this weekend, as Texas is currently allowing 2.5 sacks per game.

No. 1 Tony Fields II — Linebacker
There’s not much that Tony Fields II can’t do on a football field. The graduate transfer from Arizona has been performing well all over the place during the first half of the season, compiling 53 total tackles, two pass breakups, an interception and a sack. The 6-foot-1-inch, 220-pound linebacker was also named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week for his performance against Kansas State last Saturday, where he made a career-high 15 tackles. The fact that he leads the Mountaineers in tackles is even more impressive when considering he was suspended for a combined three quarters as a result of a targeting penalty. If the Longhorns want to establish a run game this Saturday, they need to make sure they always have a blocker or two accounting for No. 1.