Texas has won five straight and starts a tough end-of-season stretch with a trip to West Virginia on Saturday. The Longhorns have climbed to the top of the Big 12 Conference but close the season with three ranked opponents. The Mountaineers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 30-27 overtime win at Texas Christian and still have a chance to qualify for their 12th consecutive bowl game.
Both teams have leaned on the ground attack while working through quarterback changes this season. "I think this year we are running the ball pretty well," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said during his Tuesday press conference. "What Texas is trying to do offensively is similar to what we are trying to do offensively." Texas' Malcolm Brown is coming off a four-touchdown performance against Kansas while Mountaineers running back Charles Sims had a season-high 154 yards against TCU.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Fox. LINE: Texas -7.
ABOUT TEXAS (6-2, 5-0 Big 12): Johnathan Gray leads the Longhorns, who are riding their longest win streak since going 12-0 in 2009, with 724 rushing yards and is averaging 104.1 yards in the past six games. Brown has a team-high seven touchdowns and is averaging 96.7 yards in his past three games. "Malcolm is healthy and he's playing at a very high level, and he and Johnathan both are really being productive right now," coach Mack Brown said. "What we've got to do is continue to run the ball like we're running it, but we've got to have fewer no gains or 2-yard gains."
ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (4-5, 2-4): Sims is one of four players in the country with at least 700 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards and has seven total touchdowns. He's averaging 112.5 yards in the wins and 60.9 yards in West Virginia's losses. "He plays with as much effort as he possibly can and that is rubbing off on everyone on the team," Holgorsen said. "Even defensive guys point it out."
1. Texas DE Cedric Reed is one of three defensive players in FBS (with Arizona State's Carl Bradford and Clemson's Vic Beasley) with at least five sacks, four pass breakups and three forced fumbles this season.
2. Holgorsen said sophomore WR Ronald Carswell (20 catches for 413 yards) is suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules and Holgorsen would revisit the situation after the season.
3. Texas announced this week it would hire Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson to replace DeLoss Dodds.
PREDICTION: Texas 24, West Virginia 20