Bold Predictions: Texas


September 29, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Stedman Bailey (3) reacts after catching a touchdown pass in the first half in the game against the Baylor Bears at Milan Puskar Stadium. West Virginia defeated Baylor 70-63. Mandatory Credit: Rob Christy-US PRESSWIRE

West Virginia finally gets their first big road test this weekend against Texas. It is cliche, but we should be careful what we wish for. This game is going to be a tough match-up for the Mountaineers, especially defensively. Don’t expect to see as high scoring a game as last week, but this game still promises to future plenty of offensive fireworks. Let take a look at how our writers see this game going.

Ken Durbin:

The key to this game is going to again be on the shoulders of the offensive line. We know that Geno Smith is the top quarterback in the country. We know that the receivers are capable of taking the shortest slant to the house. The real variable in this effort is whether the offensive line can hold up against the Texas pass rush. If the line can keep Geno’s jersey birght white, then I think the Mountaineers will be in the game until the end. This week, I’m going to give you a pair of player predictions. I like the offensive line to keep the pass rush minimal, allowing only one sack, and powering the Mountaineers offense to 550 total yards. I also like Stedman Bailey to come up big again this week. Look for Bailey to reel in 10 passes for 135 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Overall, I think this game gets off to a bit of a slow start. After facing early pressure, Geno settles into his rhythm again and directs the Mountaineers to many scoring drives. I like the Mountaineers to pull a 48-44 upset of the Longhorns.

Brandon Miller:

This is the first regular season matchup between top 10 teams that we’ve been involved in since 2006 (when we were ranked 3rd and lost at #5 Louisville), and it is such a hard game to predict.  Will Texas be able to slow down WVU’s offense?  Will WVU’s defense step up their game?  I think the answer to both is “a little”.  This is a big game, so its worthy of two predictions from me…

WVU Defense:  Texas’s offense is nothing like Baylor’s, thank God.  I think they will run the ball a good bit to eat clock and keep WVU’s offense on the sidelines.  This can only help our struggling secondary, so I think our defense will fare better than it did against Baylor.  Personnel changes are coming and that should improve our secondary as well, but I look for a big game out of our linebackers.  Isaiah Bruce is going to have another big performance and finish with 12 total tackles and a forced fumble. 

WVU Offense:  Texas will slow us down a bit but not stop us.  They have had trouble tackling this year and that doesn’t bode well for them against our wideouts.  Geno Smith will have another stellar performance but it’ll be Tavon Austin’s speed that will give Texas defenders nightmares for the next month.  He’ll go for 200 total yards and score 3 TDs.

Game prediction:  The Mountaineers that make the trip to Austin serenade the Longhorn faithful by singing Country Roads as the Old Gold and Blue celebrate a 45 – 41 victory.

Alan Searles:

Its getting tough to predict numbers with the wild statistics that are coming out of this team, but here goes for my weekly guess!  Basic logic would put out a buyers beware on WVU this week, with the amount of points we gave up, playing a better defense, and going to a tough environment.  I still have to go with my gut and say that the Eers pull out a close one on the road 42-38. 

This vaunted Texas defense is ranked 64th in the country and while David Ash is improved, he is not as good as Nick Florence.  A loss looms out there for WVU, but we ride the momentum this week and overcome the “environment”.  Relatively speaking for a major stadium, Texas isn’t known as a true hostile crowd.  I am sure they will be fired up for this one, but we have played plenty of big boys in recent years that I feel quite comfortable in this aspect.

Look for typically big days from Stedman and Austin, but if we get down, this is the time where we may see some wrinkles.  Keep your eyes on guys like Thompson to have a new gadget play.  Also look for a defensive touchdown off a David Ash pick.

September 22, 2012; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin (1) and running back Shawne Alston (20) before playing the Maryland Terrapins at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Patrick Pishko:

I’m predicting a 16 oz. porter house in my gut by 6:45 central time Friday. Oh, you meant game predictions?

Ah, it’s that time of the week again folks and man oh days do we have a dandy on the horizon:  WVU @ Texas.  If you would have broached the subject of this potential matchup while I was still attending WVU, I would have thought it only possible to see it in the form of a national championship game; now, it will be a yearly occurrence.  Thank you to Oliver and President Clements.

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty.  I’ve heard about the defense of Texas for some time now, but they really have failed to live up to the hype.  All along, I’ve stated that the two best D’s in the Big 12 will be Iowa State and Texas Tech, so far, so good.  After surrendering 576 yards last week to Oklahoma State, Texas cannot be placed in that upper echelon; however, I do believe they will be much better than Baylor.  Look for Mack Brown to try and disrupt Geno Smith’s rhythm all game long by letting loose the reigns on his defensive ends.

I also foresee much better coverage coming from the Texas secondary; I highly doubt we will witness as many single to blown coverages this weekend. In regards to the Mountaineers; I believe establishing the run will be paramount in this game.  I hope to the heavens above Alston has fully recovered from the deep thigh bruise.  Alston’s health will make or break this game in my opinion because the Texas D will have to make accommodations if our tank of a RB is at full speed.

Bold Prediction: I look for WVU to try and establish the running game early.  In doing so, the DE’s will have to worry about containment rather than the pass rush; it will also pull the secondary closer to the line of scrimmage.  If this happens, we will see our playmakers in open space, which is obviously where they are most dangerous.

Alston:  70 yds rushing, 2 TDs

Garvin:  2 sacks; 2 TFL; 8 tackles

Let’s go ‘Eers!!!