FACTS & STATS: Site: Milan Puskar Stadium (60,000) -- Morgantown, West Virginia. Television: FOX. Home Record: UT 3-1, WVU 3-1. Away Record: UT 2-1, WVU 1-3. Neutral Record: UT 1-0, WVU 0-1. Conference Record: UT 5-0, WVU 2-4. Series: West Virginia leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Texas Longhorns will put their five-game win streak on the line Saturday night when they take on the West Virginia Mountaineers in Big 12 Conference play at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The Longhorns' win streak is their longest since the 2009 team went undefeated during the regular season. They notched a 35-13 win over Kansas last weekend to take a half-game lead in the conference standings over idle and fifth- ranked Baylor. Texas also became bowl eligible with that victory and will now seek its seventh win on the road in the last nine tries.
Meanwhile, West Virginia enters this tilt looking to build on last week's 30-27 overtime victory at TCU. That victory snapped the Mountaineers' three- game slide and kept their postseason hopes alive. They are a perfect 3-0 in Morgantown this season.
WVU was victorious in both prior meetings in the all-time series with Texas, and that includes a 48-45 triumph last season, the Mountaineers' first year in the Big 12.
Longhorns running back Malcolm Brown headlined the win over Kansas, as he became only the 10th player in school history to score four rushing touchdowns in a game. Brown carried 20 times for 119 yards, and it was his second straight game with multiple rushing TDs after scoring two against TCU a week earlier. Case McCoy completed an efficient 20-of-29 passes for 196 yards, although he was intercepted twice. Jaxon Shipley paced the receiving corps with 77 yards on six receptions. The offensive line has been a big part of the UT's midseason resurgence. McCoy was sacked once by the Jayhawks on his 24th pass attempt of the game, but the Longhorns entered that game having not allowed a sack in 61 pass attempts, a span of nine quarters. The O-line has allowed just five sacks through five league games.
Conversely, the Texas defense has generated 18 sacks in five Big 12 contests. Defensive ends Cedric Reed and Jackson Jeffcoat have spearheaded that effort. Reed leads the team in tackles (54) and QB pressures (11), and he is second in TFLs (8) and sacks (3.0). Jeffcoat's six sacks paces the team and ranks second in the conference. He also paces the squad in tackles for loss (11) and QB pressures (13). That duo's efforts have helped ease the loss of linebacker Jordan Hicks, who has been out since rupturing his Achilles against Kansas State. Hicks was leading the team with 41 tackles at the time of his injury. In the win over Kansas, the Longhorns allowed only nine first downs on the Jayhawks' first 12 possessions, forcing five three-and-outs in that span. Chris Whaley returned a fumble 40 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to stretch the Longhorns' lead to 21-6.
West Virginia put up 17 points in the fourth quarter against TCU, yet still needed overtime as the Horned Frogs scored 10 unanswered points in the final 3:01 of regulation. Charles Sims carried the WVU offense with 154 rushing yards and a touchdown on 24 carries (6.4 ypc), and he also had 35 yards and a touchdown receiving. His 154 rushing yards were the most ever against a Gary Patterson-coached TCU defense. Quarterback Clint Trickett completed 25-of-41 passes for 267 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. The Mountaineers finished with 415 yards of total offense and scored on all four of their red- zone trips (two touchdowns, two field goals).
WVU's defense came up with four takeaways, three of which came during a five- play stretch midway through the fourth quarter. Trickett capitalized with two touchdown passes following a pair of interceptions by TCU's Casey Pachall. Still, the Horned Frogs battled back from a 27-17 deficit in the final three- plus minutes to force overtime. TCU amassed 30 first downs and 454 yards of total offense against the Mountaineers defense. Pachall threw for 394 yards and three scores, but it was those four turnovers that proved to be the difference in the outcome. Darwin Cook led the way for West Virginia with a game-high 14 tackles to go along with a fumble recovery.
The Longhorns looked like they were headed toward a rough season after dropping two of their first three games. But now they are in position to win the Big 12 despite not even being ranked. If they can limit turnovers and bottle up Sims and the West Virginia ground game, they'll likely extend their win streak to six in a row.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 30, West Virginia 20
Saturday, November 9, 7 p.m. (et)