AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns are hitting the country roads this week at Morgantown, West Virginia for a 2:30 p.m. Saturday kick off.
The Mountaineers (3-1) are a bit of an unknown this season with a new head coach and mostly new offensive weapons. West Virginia scraped by Kansas in its Big 12 opener, 29-24 and lost by four touchdowns on the road at Missouri.
But…the Mountaineers also walloped a decent North Carolina State team at home 44-27.
New head coach Neal Brown runs a similar offensive system to Dana Holgorsen, but he’s working with an entirely new cast of playmakers.
Here are the players that will receive most of the Longhorns’ attention:
Junior QB Austin Kendall
Kendall is a definite downgrade (for now) when compared to former West Virginia quarterback Will Grier. He’s been accurate in four games this season, but hasn’t stretched the field with big play ability. He’ll use his feet when necessary, but isn’t considered a dual-threat.
Can Kendall take advantage of a young, depleted Longhorns secondary? For the Mountaineers offense to have success, he’ll need to hit his targets down the field.
Senior RB Kennedy McKoy
West Virginia flat out couldn’t run the ball in the first two games of the season averaging just over a yard a carry against James Madison and Missouri. They’ve started to improve slightly in its previous two contests with a rushing average of 4.8 ypc.
McCoy was the featured back against Kansas rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown along with five receptions for 44 yards. McCoy and Martell Pettaway gashed the Longhorns in their 2018 meeting combining for 215 yards.
So far this season, Pettaway hasn’t been a big factor. McKoy will be facing a much-improved Longhorns rush defense this season. Can Texas keep the West Virginia attack one dimensional?
Sophomore DL Dante Stills
The Stills brothers are beasts for the West Virginia defense. Dante Stills leads the Mountaineers defense with four sacks and six tackles for loss. The younger Stills brother also is credited with a forced fumble this season.
Let’s face it, Sam Ehlinger has reached a new level in his knowledge of the offense. There’s not a lot that will throw him off, but if West Virginia can get pressure on the Longhorns QB it will at least give them a chance.
Junior DL Darius Stills
Older brother, Darius Stills, is trailing his brother in production — just slightly. Darius has tallied three sacks and five tackles for loss through four games. The Texas offensive line will get its toughest test up front since LSU with a physical Mountaineers front.