The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

November 9, 2013

WVU, Texas set to meet under the lights

West Virginia’s most memorable football moment as a member of the Big 12 came last October when the undefeated Mountaineers marched into Austin, Texas, and handed the Longhorns a 48-45 defeat.

Texas and head coach Mack Brown will make a visit to Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown tonight at 7 p.m., looking for payback and their sixth straight win in front of a gold and blue striped stadium and a FOX television audience.

The Mountaineers (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) won’t look much like the team the Longhorns saw a year ago. In WVU’s big win, Andrew Buie rushed for 207 yards, Stedman Bailey caught three Geno Smith touchdown passes, Tavon Austin caught another and Tyler Bitancurt kicked a pair of field goals.

None of those stars will be on the field under the lights tonight.

Instead, WVU will feature Charles Sims, who rushed for 154 yards in a win over TCU last week, and quarterback Clint Trickett, who has settled in as the starter and is coming off the best half of his career, according to head coach Dana Holgorsen.

Texas (6-2, 5-0 Big 12) not only will look different than the team that took the field a year ago, it’s also gone through a major transformation since the beginning of this season.

After a 1-2 start that included back-to-back losses to BYU (40-21) and Ole Miss (44-23), Brown, perhaps in an effort to save his own job, fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and brought in former Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson to take over that position.

The Longhorns haven’t lost since, winning five straight, and their defense, which allowed more than 500 yards rushing against BYU, has actually turned into a strength.

Still perfect in conference play, UT is very much in the hunt for a Big 12 title, although its schedule is backloaded with No. 14 Oklahoma State, No. 25 Texas Tech and No. 6 Baylor still ahead.

“It’s fun to watch the guys handle the adversity, pull together when everybody says they were through, come back, fight and overcome all of the things they had to overcome,” said Brown this week. “Now they’ve got to handle success.”

The Longhorns base their offense on the running game, with a trio of backs that can carry the load. Jonathan Gray leads the way with 724 yards and four touchdowns on the saeson.

David Ash has been ruled out with an injury, meaning Colt McCoy will likely take all the snaps at quarterback. The senior has completed 60 percent of his passes, but he’s thrown the same number of interceptions as touchdowns, with five of each.

“You can tell Mack Brown lit a fire under those guys,” said WVU defensive lineman Shaq Rowell. “Those guys are physical up front, and it’s going to be a tough challenge for us.”

Texas will be making its first trip to Morgantown, and it’s likely to find a rowdy atmosphere and cold weather for the first night game of the season. WVU is fighting for bowl eligibility and hoping the “Stripe the Stadium” promotion can lead to the same success it did in last year’s Big 12 opener when the Mountaineers beat Baylor 70-63.

“We’re not going to win the Big 12, and we understand that,” said Holgorsen. “We just want to improve and win the next game.”

— E-mail: chuffman

@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

1
Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 spartans LOCAL ROUNDUP: Spartans win Spring Break Wooden Bat Classic

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • St. Joe’s Lewis named 2014 High School Coach of the Year

    Huntington St. Joseph girls basketball coach Shannon Lewis has made a habit of celebrating success in Charleston over the last few years.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814 Sisler Diamond Classic continues today

    Fayetteville pitcher Kaitlyn Sisler pitched five innings of shutout softball as the Pirates beat Oak Hill 10-0 Wednesday in the Diamond Classic in Fayetteville.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014