One year ago, the West Virginia football team defeated Texas in a highly-publicized 42-41 upset. It’s not something Sam Ehlinger planned to forget.
“I remember every single team/player that disrespects the rich tradition of the University of Texas by putting the Horns down,” the Texas quarterback said in a now-deleted tweet that was posted following the conclusion of the 2018 game. “Do not think it will be forgotten in the future.”
On Saturday, when the No. 11 Texas Longhorns (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) face off with the Mountaineers, it will be the first matchup between the two teams since last year’s final-minute WVU victory.
Led by Ehlinger, a Heisman Trophy contender, and the team’s leading receiver Devin Duvernay, the Longhorns have put together the second-best scoring offense in the Big 12 this season, averaging 41.8 points per game.
Texas also ranks first in the conference in kickoff returns as the duo of Duvernay and sophomore defensive back D’Shawn Jamison average 32.4 yards per return.
On the defensive side of the ball, head coach Tom Herman will be without sophomore defensive back Caden Sterns — the team leader in tackles this season and a member of the preseason All-Big 12 Team.
When Texas takes the field at Milan Puskar Stadium this weekend, the Longhorns will encounter a WVU team holding momentum as the team has won both of its last two games.
West Virginia (3-1, 1-0) returns from the bye week having defeated Kansas on the road on Sep. 21 and NC State at home on Sep. 14. However, the Mountaineers currently sit at ninth out of the 10 teams in the conference in scoring offense, averaging a mere 25 points per game.
Despite this season’s Texas team being the second-highest ranked opponent WVU head coach Neal Brown has faced in his head coaching career, he is not discouraged.
“I think it comes down to the one-on-ones, we’ve got to be able to win those,” Brown said. “We’ve got to be able to throw the ball down there, we’ve got to be able to make some people miss in the open field in the run game and we’ve got to generate some explosive plays.”
Brown believes that, based on the ambiance surrounding the matchup, the home-field advantage will play a big role for the Mountaineers.
“It’s gonna be a great atmosphere. We’re gonna need our crowd, we’re gonna need our students. I hope they show up in big numbers, and I hope they stay — we’re gonna need ‘em.”
Saturday’s game will kick off at approximately 3:30 p.m. from Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown. The nationally-televised matchup will be broadcast on ABC.