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Four things to watch for as the Longhorns head to Morgantown

Mitch Lovell
Mitch Lovell

1.  Can Texas finally stop the run?

For the most part, any team with a pulse has proven it can run on the Texas defense this season. West Virginia running back Leddie Brown averages 4.4 yards a carry and stopping Brown be the challenge for the Longhorns this weekend. Pete Kwiatkowski's side of the ball ranks 105th out of 130 FBS teams in total defense, and they rank 115th in the nation in rushing defense.  I’m not sure how much fight the defense has left in them based on the 57 points they gave to Kansas, but if they can't stop the run it’s going to be another long trip back to Austin for the 'Horns.

2.  How will Jordan Whittington's return help the offense?

Since Whittington broke his collarbone vs Oklahoma, the offense has certainly looked different.  In fact, the Longhorns haven't won a game since he went down against the Sooners.  He’s a great security blanket on third down, which is where Texas has missed him most. He also is able to take attention away from Xavier Worthy which should help tremendously, especially with Bijan Robinson being out for the year. Whittington also brings a physical mindset to the field, which this offense and team overall really need.

3.  Can Texas force Jarret Doege to win the game?

Even with up and down play from Casey Thompson, Texas should have the advantage at quarterback. Doege has 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions has struggled throughout the season, and the Longhorns should be able to create some issues when he drops back. The Texas secondary has struggled as well, but they should have opportunities to make plays on the ball and run the other way with it. If Texas can win the turnover battle this is a very winnable game for Sarkisian and the Longhorns.

4.  How will Texas fare in another hostile environment?

It's no secret that West Virginia hates Texas - and the Longhorns have had their share of trouble in hostile atmospheres this year. That is ultimately why think they will struggle to leave Morgantown with a win on Saturday. I was in Fayetteville earlier this season and could tell early on that the 'Horns were rattled and never really recovered. If that’s the case on Saturday, the team could be faced with another long day on the gridiron.

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