Texas' Duke Thomas recovered a fumbled punt from Kansas during second quarter action against Kansas' in their Big 12 football game at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX. Saturday night November 7, 2015. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Our staff takes: This one has the makings to be another close one

Posted November 13th, 2015


Our staff takes — minus Brian Davis, who is in China covering the Texas men’s basketball team — on Saturday’s Texas-West Virginia matchup:

KIRK BOHLS:  I’ll be stunned if Texas doesn’t play competitive football. West Virginia, however, is equally desperate. Both teams have four wins, two shy of bowl eligibility, and rely heavily on their ground game although the Longhorns rely on power and the Mountaineers on speed in space. Texas comes out strong, but the raucous home crowd carries West Virginia to a close 35-31 win.

Texas Longhorn (4) Daje Johnson returns a punt 85 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter against Oklahoma at the AT&T Red River Rivalry college football game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas,TX., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. (RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN- STATESMAN
Daje Johnson could play a huge role on special teams for the Longhorns in Morgantown on Saturday. (RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN- STATESMAN

CEDRIC GOLDEN: It’s been pretty quiet on the special teams front since Michael Dickson‘s dropped punt snap that cost the Horns dearly in the 30-27 loss to Oklahoma State, and since Nick Rose‘s missed extra point at the end of the 45-44 loss to Cal the week before. This is shaping up as a game where special teams will play a big role in the outcome. I’m thinking Daje Johnson will figure prominently in this one. He’s due for a big return in a big game. This would be the time for him to give the Horns a game-changing play in a tough environment.


RYAN AUTULLO: Some say I’m a pessimist about the Texas football team. I’d argue I’m a realist. Today, I’m an optimist. The Longhorns are going to beat West Virginia. Bohls and Golden can roll their eyes if they’d like, but I’ll repeat myself: Texas, which has been outscored 112-10 in three road games and is an 8.5-point underdog, is going to storm into Morgantown and make me look really good.