The Texas defensive performance played out about like I expected: they kept the WVU passing game in front of them (Doege completed 70% of his throws, but at only 9 yards per completion), completely took away the running game (43 rushing yards, longest run was 12), consistently won in the trenches, and held West Virginia to 13 total points on the strength of a largely mistake free red zone defense. That clutch red zone defense was in sharp contrast to what we saw in Stillwater. In fact, the entire game result relied on stiffening up near the Longhorn goal line, particularly as the Texas defensive performance transitioned from dominant to bend-but-don't-break.
Neal Brown's Mountaineers are off to a solid start, but the meat of their schedule remains, beginning this week with Texas. They're 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the Big 12 race, one game out of first place. They have notched conference wins over Baylor (in OT), against hapless Kansas, and just buried a QB deficient Kansas State, with losses coming on the road to Oklahoma State by 14 and Texas Tech by 7. The meat of their league schedule yet remains (Texas, ISU, OU) and they've been a much tougher out at home (4-0) than on the road (0-2).
13 Texas points (one TD, two field goals) were scored on drives of 15 yards, 5 yards, and -3 yards, respectively. Drives that began on the OSU 15, 8, and 20 yard lines. Without those short fields afforded by the defense plus a special teams touchdown from D'Shawn Jamison, there's no chance Texas wins this game, much less keeps the loss under double digits.
Texas plays its best opponent of the season on All Hallows Eve. Undefeated Oklahoma State is getting better on offense with a healthy Spencer Sanders returning and their depleted offensive line learning to cope, but they're currently undefeated and sitting in the driver's seat of the conference race due to the play of their defense. If Texas wants to get out of Stillwater with a win, Sam Ehlinger better put on a Superman cape for four quarters, or the Texas offensive coaches need to come up with a better offensive game plan against blitzing press-man coverage than the lazy efforts they've rolled out against the Cowboys' slack jawed cousins in Norman for the last two years.
The Texas offense decided to match their white throwback uniforms to a little throwback offense paired with an opportunistic downfield passing game. 12 personnel ruled the day and the Longhorn spent most of the game with two tight ends on the field ex-stablishing the run and then hitting Baylor over the top when they busted coverages. The early part of the contest featured what I can only term "Hurry Up Inside Zone" (including an outside zone run for 3 yards on 3rd and 6) which led to a couple of Longhorn punts. Texas diversified with Sam's legs and hit some downfield shots and then things opened up a bit.