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Texas Longhorns vs. West Virginia Mountaineers: Complete Game Preview

Taylor GasparFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2013

Texas Longhorns vs. West Virginia Mountaineers: Complete Game Preview

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Texas Longhorns look for revenge and to extend their undefeated Big 12 run Saturday when they  head to Morgantown to take on the Mountaineers.

    The team Texas will meet Saturday is not the same West Virginia team it faced in 2012. The Mountaineers have had a rocky season and are 2-4 in Big 12 play. But, West Virginia's upset of TCU last Saturday might have been the right push to take down the Longhorns. 

     

    When: Saturday, November 9, 7 p.m. ET

    Where:  Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, West Virginia

    TV: FOX

    Austin Radio: KVET 98.1/1300

    SiriusXM satellite radio: XM 117; Sirius 202; Internet 969; Spanish 970

    Spread: Texas (-6.5), per VegasInsider.com

    Last meeting: October 6, 2012, Austin, Texas

    Last outcome: West Virginia 48, Texas 45

Texas Longhorns Key to Victory

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Run the ball, but be ready to throw it

    With senior quarterback Case McCoy calling the snaps, the Longhorns will focus on running the ball Saturday night. But West Virginia's run defense is much stronger than its passing defense, which ranks No. 111 nationally and has allowed its opponents to average 276.1 passing yards per game.

    Texas needs to run the ball down the Mountaineers' throat, but it should also be ready to throw the ball if West Virginia can stop the run.

     

West Virginia Mountaineers Key to Victory

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Embrace Home Field Advantage

    The weather forecast shows a low of 42 degrees in Morgantown Saturday night, which means it would not be surprising if this is one of the coldest games Texas will play this season. Mountaineers are built to sustain the cold weather environment, Longhorns are not.

    Silly comparisons aside, West Virginia needs to use its atmosphere as an advantage early in the game. 

    On paper, Texas should easily beat West Virginia. But if the Mountaineers can come out fighting and hit the Longhorns in their chattering teeth, West Virginia could pull the upset.

Texas Longhorns Player to Watch

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Junior running back Malcolm Brown

    Brown is coming off of a career game, rushing for 119 yards on 20 carries and four touchdowns against Kansas. His performance against the Jayhawks was his second 100-plus yard game of the 2013 season. Brown will absolutely be key in the running attack against the Mountaineers.

West Virginia Mountaineers Player to Watch

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    Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    Senior Running Back Charles Sims

    The Houston transfer running back has racked up 1,054 total yards and seven touchdowns this season. Sims is coming off of a season high 24 carries for 154 rushing yards against TCU. The Texas defense has shown vast improvements since the epic 550 rushing yard failure against BYU, but the Longhorns have not faced a very strong running attack in Big 12 play. Keep an eye on No. 3.

What They're Saying

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    Texas head coach Mack Brown on West Virginia running back Charles Sims (Via Texassports.com)

    We know a lot about him because he was at Houston and we've watched him throughout the last couple of years. He's a top pro prospect and a really good football player and that's where it all starts for him. Their running game is different than last year. It was all the passing game last year and then Tavon Austin in space and this year they're going to line up and hammer the ball. 

     

    West Virginia head coach Dana Holgerson on Texas' defense (Via WVUSports.com)

    They have simplified things. Before they would try different things on third down by getting into different fronts. It comes down to getting off blocks, holding your gaps, playing with effort, being physical and making tackles. They have gotten better in all those things. 

Prediction

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    Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

    The biggest factor for Texas on Saturday is the atmosphere in Morgantown. The Mountaineers fans are passionate and loud. Saturday's game is also a "Stripe the Stadium" game, where the crowd sections will be divided in blue and gold. This will also be the coldest game Texas has played this year. Good thing Texas travels with a heated bench.

    When push comes to shove, the Longhorns should have no issues taking down the Mountaineers. Texas is an overall better team both offensively and defensively. As long as Texas remains focused on the game and not on the external factors, the Longhorns will bump their Big 12 record to 6-0.

     

    Texas 35 West Virginia 24 

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