Opponents to watch: West Virginia

Jarrett Doege (2) calls for the snap inside Iowa State territory

Gus Schlomer/Daily Athenaeum

Jarrett Doege (2) calls for the snap inside Iowa State territory

Christina Huang, Sports Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the November 19 Double Coverage flipbook.

Texas’ postseason chances are on the line as the Longhorns now fight for bowl eligibility after an embarrassing loss to Kansas last week. A 4–6 Texas team must contain four Mountaineers if the Longhorns wish to continue their season into December.

Dante Stills

Senior defensive lineman Dante Stills matched his season-high total in tackles with four last weekend in West Virginia’s 17-34 loss to Kansas State. The 2020 All-Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year is still riding high on the wave of momentum after an impressive October performance. Stills produced some of the best football of his career last month with the highlight being a sack in the end of the Iowa State game that sealed the Mountaineers’ 38-31 upset victory over the Cyclones. He also currently leads the team in sacks with six total on the season. West Virginia’s depth chart has Stills listed as the starting defensive tackle against Texas on Saturday. Stills does a great job of disrupting the opposing offense and plays in a way that pushes other West Virginia linemen to the next level.

Taijh Alston 

Redshirt junior defensive lineman Taijh Alston has had a solid comeback season. Alston had a season-ending knee injury in 2019 and missed the entire 2020. He has been a crucial piece to the West Virginia defense, racking up 28 tackles, five sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss this season. Nominated for the 2021 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award, Alston had a stellar rebound and journey back to the field. He has started in all of West Virginia’s games this season and will continue the trend as the starting defensive end against Texas. Alston’s bounce back from such a devastating injury is not only impressive, but a true testament to his talent and dedication to nurturing his skillset.

Jarret Doege

Redshirt senior quarterback Jarret Doege is returning to the field under center as West Virginia’s starting quarterback against Texas. Doege has started in 13 out of his 14 games played for the Mountaineers. Doege ended October on a high note with an upset win over Iowa State, but November has not been going very smoothly for the redshirt senior. Doege was sacked seven times in West Virginia’s 24-3 blowout loss to Oklahoma State, and he threw two interceptions in last week’s Kansas State loss. However, Doege currently leads the Big 12 in passing yards with 2,448 yards on the season. Doege is looking to break his team’s two-game losing streak on Saturday. He proved himself a solid quarterback in the Iowa State upset after throwing for 370 yards and three touchdowns. It will be up to the Texas defense to keep Doege from breaking out on Saturday.

Leddie Brown

Senior running back Leddie Brown will have no problem running through Texas’ defense if he gets a hot start. Like his quarterback, Brown had a solid ending to October. The senior rushed for a season-high three touchdowns against TCU on Oct. 23 for a 29-17 win and rushed for two touchdowns against Iowa State. He has not found his way into the end zone since then due to the Mountaineers’ offensive struggles as a whole. He is West Virginia’s top rusher, making a solid performance from Brown key to a Mountaineer win. Brown’s impressive performances against TCU and Iowa State showed that he is able to run the ball and score in key moments. The Texas defense will need to keep the ball out of Brown’s hands as much as possible, or at the very least, minimize his runs.