Texas Football: 10 Things We Learned About the Longhorns' Win over West Virginia
It took overtime for the Texas Longhorns (7-2, 6-0) to squeak out a victory over West Virginia (4-6, 2-5), but the road team got what it wanted, a win.
With the 47-40 triumph in Morgantown, W. Va., the Longhorns extended their Big 12 winning streak to six, staying perfect to keep pace with Baylor atop the conference standings.
In what was one of the more exciting games for the 'Horns this season, there were plenty of ups and downs to take away.
Here are 10 things we learned about Texas' road win in Morgantown.
Texas' Offense Goes as Its Running Game Goes
You do not often see Texas throw the ball more than it passes.
The Longhorns threw the ball 49 times with Case McCoy, and he completed just 27 of them.
Compared to Texas' 41 carries, which may have taken a hit with Johnathan Gray suffering an apparent lower leg injury, the Longhorns just did not establish themselves throughout the course of the game.
And the lack of rhythm showed.
Credit to the West Virginia defense, though. The Mountaineers were strong against the run, plugging the middle well and pursuing to the edge just as well.
Texas cannot like its chances when McCoy throws the ball nearly 50 times. That is far from its recipe for success.
The Texas Running Game Can Be Had, in Spots
Thanks to seven sacks on the night, Texas forced West Virginia into -44 rushing yards from its quarterbacks.
Otherwise, the Mountaineers' ball-carriers were able to pick up 155 yards on the ground, and doing so off the edge where Texas' speed does not match up with its power up the middle.
Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed are great edge defenders, but Texas does not have the personnel at linebacker to hold off the edge at the second level. Not against speedier backs.
The Offensive Line Barely Deserves a Passing Grade
Texas may have scored 47 points, but it had more to do with Texas' defense creating good field position and some timely throws from McCoy.
Just twice in Big 12 play has Texas averaged less than four yards per carry. It picked up 3.6 per rush against TCU, and against the Mountaineers, the 'Horns peeled off just 3.7 yards per tote.
The West Virginia defense was able to disrupt Texas' offense with some consistency throughout the night.
If Texas was in a position to drive on longer fields more often, the result may have been completely different.
On this night, the defensive line really bailed out Texas' offensive front.
DBU Is Not What It Used to Be
Texas and the term DBU have become almost synonymous with one another, considering how many defensive backs Duane Akina has guided into the league.
He may very well send a few more onto the NFL from his current group on campus, but the unit is not near the quality that it used to offer.
Missed tackles are too common. The big play is happening too much against them, and the physical tackles just are not showing up.
With the defensive line really stepping things up, Texas has a chance to transform into a shutdown defense, but it will need some big improvements out of the secondary.
Texas' Defensive Line Is Slowly Becoming the Best in the Big 12
The Texas defensive front has really taken off in recent weeks, and it proved to be a huge factor in its win over West Virginia.
The Longhorns sacked the Mountaineers' quarterback seven times on the night, including six times in the first quarter.
Cedric Reed and Jackson Jeffcoat are as disruptive as one could hope for from the end, as Texas can load up mismatches all day.
The injury to Chris Whaley is a big hit at defensive tackle, as the senior has returned two fumbles for touchdowns. But Malcolm Brown is still a force, and backup Desmond Jackson may be the strongest guy up front for the Longhorns.
Anthony Fera Is Making Us Forget About 2012 Quickly
Kicker Anthony Fera continues to shine for the Longhorns, adding another perfect night to his résumé this season.
Fera was 4-of-4 on field goal attempts, converting from 24, 25, 29 and 37 yards.
The senior has missed just one field goal all season, securing 11-of-12 attempts after going just 2-of-4 in 2012.
Texas Has Two Sunday Players at Defensive End
It's becoming a weekly routine for Texas' defensive ends.
Jeffcoat and Reed are putting on an absolute show on the edge, proving unblockable more often than not.
Through the West Virginia victory, the two have combined to post 14 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss.
Texas is playing a good brand of defense, and these two players are the biggest reasons why it is having success on that side of the football.
The Turnovers Are Starting to Come
Texas has recorded at least one turnover in each of its six Big 12 games.
The five it posted against West Virginia are the most over that stretch, as Texas is averaging 2.7 turnovers per Big 12 game.
If the Texas offense fails to establish itself successfully, the defense has been there to pick up the slack.
This proved critical against West Virginia, and this will be a huge determinant in Texas' quest for a conference title.
Case McCoy Was, Once Again, Case McCoy
It's nothing new, but it should not surprise anyone that McCoy was able to get Texas in position to win the game.
But on another note, McCoy was about as inconsistent as we have seen him all season.
On one play he will deliver a terrible ball, but then hit his receiver over the shoulder on a dime.
This is something Texas has been living with, but McCoy has cooled from his heater, if one could call it that.
There is a reason David Ash beat out McCoy for the starting job.
Mack Brown Lives on
Mack Brown's run continues as his team maintains its pursuit of a Big 12 title with its perfect conference record intact.
Brown's hire of Greg Robinson to replace Manny Diaz at defensive coordinator has been paying off in the Big 12, as Texas' defense is playing with a different attitude.
That demeanor hardly changed on Saturday night, despite the Longhorns allowing 40 points for the first time since giving up back-to-back 40-point accounts to BYU and Ole Miss.
Texas lost those two games, if you can remember, but without its five takeaways against West Virginia, it seemed implausible that the 'Horns had a shot in Morgantown.
Credit should be given where it is due, and Brown keeps on trucking like the 1-2 start never happened.
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