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October 1, 2012
No. 7/8 West Virginia (4-0, 1-0) will take to the road for the first true road game of the season against No. 9/11 Texas (4-0, 1-0) and it will present the biggest challenge of the season to date.
Texas is coming off a 41-36 win over Oklahoma State in Stillwater, but head coach Dana Holgorsen's experience of coaching in Austin, along with the players previous matchups in hostile venues such as LSU and Auburn should have them prepared for anything they're going to see Saturday night.
"Been at some big places and big games and our guys are excited to be a part of that," he said.
The Longhorns offense will present a different challenge than what the Mountaineers faced this past weekend in the 70-63 track-meet against Baylor in West Virginia's Big 12 Conference opener.
Texas will attempt to run the football and establish the line of scrimmage with a more conventional offensive attack, but sophomore quarterback David Ash has plenty enough ability to make plays downfield.
"Ash is playing at a high level. He's doing a good job taking care of the football they've got backs that are fast," Holgorsen said. "They're a good talented Texas offense."
Defensively, the Longhorns are a fast physical group and the Mountaineers must be prepared to handle the blitz and make plays in one-on-one coverage.
After review of the Baylor tape, Holgorsen said he felt better about the defense Sunday as opposed to Saturday night. The head man believes the defense played "pretty good" around 75-percent of the time, but big plays through the passing game and issues with coverage allowed the Bears to maximize that 25-percent that they weren't.
"It was very disheartening," he said.
Still, with the way Texas plays offense, Holgorsen believes the Mountaineers match up better with them than they did the spread passing attack of the Bears.
"Defensively we played well against the run. They had over 40-some attempts and we held them to around two-yards per carry," he said. " Our pass defense was atrocious but to find a positive our run defense was really good."
Both teams excel on third-downs with the Mountaineers converting around 60-percent, and Texas right behind at 58-percent. That will be a key for both offenses to stay on the field and avoid getting behind the chains.
The game is set for 7 p.m. on FOX.
Senior Tavon Austin and redshirt junior Stedman Bailey are both in the middle of monster seasons statistically and Holgorsen said some of that can be contributed to year two in the system, but the pair have a report with senior quarterback Geno Smith.
"They've been hanging out together for going on four years now and playing a lot of football for four years now," he said.
West Virginia NEWS