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Preview: Texas Longhorns

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – (November 6, 2020) – The West Virginia Mountaineers will travel to Austin, Texas to take on the Texas Longhorns to continue to gain momentum in the Big 12 standings. 

The Longhorns (4-2, 3-2 Big 12) are coming off a win over No. 6-ranked Oklahoma State in overtime by a score of 41-34. If you remember in September, the Mountaineers (4-2, 3-2 Big 12) lost to Oklahoma State by a score of 27-13.

There was nothing but praise from West Virginia coach Neal Brown to the football program of Texas.

“I have a ton of respect for Texas and the history of that program,” Brown said. “I think it’s a great experience for our guys to go to Austin and play in that stadium that has so much tradition.”

This Saturday’s game will be very important for both West Virginia and Texas as they are in the hunt to play for the Big 12 Championship in December.

The Longhorns are led by senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger who is 1-2 in the three games played against the Mountaineers.

So far in 2020, Ehlinger has thrown 20 touchdowns to his five interceptions. He’s led the Texas offense to average 44 points per game.

“He’s a guy that just comes off to me as a winner,” Neal Brown said. 

“He’s got some mental toughness about him. He’s got some charisma to where guys follow him and when you have that type of personality, combined with the talent he has, guys are going to follow him,” Brown added.

The great Mountaineers defense will have to contain Ehlinger’s arm but also his legs as also leads Texas in rushing yards.

Ehlinger averages 3.6 yards per carry with 284 yards. He has seven rushing touchdowns as well.

West Virginia secondary will have to watch out for Joshua Moore and Brennan Eagles as Ehlinger targets those two the most.

Moore has 343 yards with seven touchdowns, Eagles has 243 yards with four touchdowns.

Jarret Doege and company could have a rough Saturday afternoon if they aren’t able to contain Joseph Ossai.

Ossai has 4.5 sacks on the year and three forced fumbles.

“He’s special,” Neal Brown said. “He’s probably as good of a defender as anyone in our league. His stats are off the charts, and he really jumps out. He’s got great ball get-off, he’s long and he’s probably an early-round draft pick for sure. We’ve got to know where he’s at.”

Speaking of Doege and company, the Mountaineers come off arguably the best win in the Neal Brown era beating No. 16-ranked Kansas State 37-10.

Jarret Doege has proved to be a consistent quarterback that Brown can rely on. The Bowling Green transfer has roughly under 1700 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Leddie Brown still continues to impress and show his ability to run the ball this season. Brown is up to 694 rushing yards with 10 total scrimmage touchdowns.

As a sophomore, Winston Wright has stepped up to become Doege’s number one target. Wright is up to 391 yards and two touchdowns, one coming from last week.

Mike O’Laughlin is someone to keep an eye on this game. The sophomore tight end is being used more and more as the weeks go on. O’Laughlin has 10 catches for 115 yards in four games played.

The best defense in the Big 12 continued to prove it last week only allowing 10 points to KSU. It will be interesting if they can hold a high scoring Texas team under 30.

Dante Stills and Jared Bartlett each had a sack last weekend against the Wildcats.

Nicktroy Fortune, Sean Mahone, and Dylan Tonkery each had a takeaway last Saturday with Tonkery returning the interception for a touchdown.

The West Virginia Mountaineers will kick off against the Texas Longhorns at noon. Coverage will be on ABC.

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