WVU football was strong last week, earning a convincing win last Thursday against Virginia Tech. Now at 2-2, the team turns its attention back to the Big 12 Conference as it heads to Austin to face Texas on Saturday night.
West Virginia sportsbooks show the Mountaineers as almost 10-point underdogs this week.
With such a difficult schedule ahead of the conference, every potential win is important. The Mountaineers took full advantage of their opportunity a week ago and finished off rival Virginia Tech by a final score of 33-10.
The defense deserves plenty of praise after this one, as the offense didn’t get going until late in the first half. Tech held the lead deep into the second quarter until quarterback JT Daniels found Sam James for a 24-yard touchdown.
WVU’s defensive unit continued its great play in the second half, forcing two turnovers while giving up just three points.
Let’s take a second look at the Mountaineers’ latest triumph and preview their matchup with the Longhorns this weekend.
Mountaineers climb back to 2-2
The scoreboard didn’t reflect how well WVU played in its last tilt for a good portion of the game. It took a 13-7 lead into the break at halftime, then completed the third quarter with a 16-10 edge.
A huge fourth that featured an offensive score, a field goal, and a defensive touchdown solidified a road victory for WVU. Freshman Jacolby Spells closed the door with an interception return for six points with about 10 minutes remaining.
Overall, the Mountaineers outgained the Hokies nearly 2:1, totaling more than 420 yards, compared to just 228 for the home side. There were also major disparities in time of possession and first downs, where WVU tallied 32 against only 14 for Tech.
Again, junior linebacker Lee Kpogba made plays all over the field. He led head coach Neal Brown’s squad in tackles with six and is the team’s pacesetter in that category as the only player over 20, with 24 thus far.
The offense did enough to get the job done, although it wasn’t a stellar performance.
Daniels hit 20 of 30 attempts for 203 yards to go along with one touchdown.
Despite not scoring too often, the offense did put together a solid string of possessions. They scored five straight times touching the ball from the end of the first half into the second. Kicker Casey Legg buried three field goals during that stretch, with the longest from 38 yards out.
Freshman CJ Donaldson topped all other running backs in yards, but several players contributed. Donaldson accounted for 106 yards on 23 carries, while sophomore Justin Johnson Jr. turned 11 touches into 83 yards and a score.
Tony Mathis Jr. saw his attempts drop significantly for the two aforementioned backs. He rushed only nine times for 38 yards.
WVU football vs. Texas preview
The victory was huge for both WVU and its backers at WV sportsbooks. It easily covered the line around -2 for the point spread, moving it to 3-1 for the season against the spread.
Coach Brown seemed pleased with the results of this difficult test. According to the Associated Press, Brown said:
“That was a great win. I felt great about our preparation coming in, and this is one of the toughest venues to come in and play. I felt really good. This is something that we’ve been thinking about for a long time once we found out this was going to be a Thursday night game. I thought we played fast. We were really physical.”
Hopefully, the Mountaineers can turn this momentum and a slightly longer week to prepare into another quality showing at Texas. WV sportsbooks currently show the Mountaineers receiving +9.5 points in the spread.
WVU will look to defeat the Longhorns for the second consecutive year, just like with Virginia Tech. It beat Texas 31-23 in 2021, eliminating the Longhorns from bowl contention.
The Mountaineers will need another great outing to get it done. DraftKings WV lists them at +270 on the moneyline, while Texas’ odds sit at -325 for this contest.
This week’s game total is even higher than that of most WVU games so far, posted at 62 points.
Texas rolls out sophomore QB Hudson Card as its starter following Quinn Ewers’ injury. The exciting talent may make his return this week, though, after dressing and warming up a week ago.
Even though they lost, Card put together a solid afternoon for the Longhorns. He threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns in the narrow overtime loss.
No matter who plays at quarterback, Texas is likely to hand it off to the impressive Bijan Robinson. The junior back is averaging over six yards per carry and has bounced back since a tough game against Alabama. He’s rushed for more than 285 yards in the last two, scoring five touchdowns in that time as well.
WVU football odds at WV sportsbooks
As always, WV sportsbooks provide a bunch of ways to put action down on this upcoming tilt.
Right now, FanDuel Sportsbook WV is giving a tighter spread for Saturday’s first half. The online book lists WVU receiving +6.5, with odds of -115.
Sportsbooks typically provide a wide range of options a bit closer to the start of the game. At the moment, DraftKings has a few, including team and game props.
An interesting line is set for WVU’s team total, which is highlighted at 26.5 points. Both the over and under options are available at -115.
The book also offers bettors alternates on the spread. You can take WVU +14 at -185 or move it down to just +5.5 to see boosted odds of +145.