The 15th-ranked Longhorns host No. 12 West Virginia on Saturday. The eyes of Texas will be upon …
Brandon Jones, Texas safety
During last year’s win in Morgantown, Jones forced a key fumble on a goal-line hit of Will Grier, who suffered a season-ending injury to his finger on the play. Grier is back and so is Jones, now a junior who ranks second on the Texas defense with 52 tackles. Plus D’Shawn Jamison opening this week on the injury report, so Jones also may see more punt returns.
David Long Jr., West Virginia linebacker
Long missed West Virginia’s first four games of 2017 with a knee injury but still ended up being named the team’s defensive MVP. He’s well on his way to repeating that honor; Long is leading the team with 68 tackles, including 12.5 stops for loss and three sacks. He’s finished with double-digit tackles in each of his past two games against Texas.
Elijah Rodriguez, Texas guard
Rodriguez was injured for much of last year but he did start against West Virginia in 2016. He played left guard the last time the Mountaineers saw him, but his eight starts this season have been made at right guard and center. (The senior captain will be a right guard on Saturday.) Texas’ offensive line has allowed only 11 sacks, and the Longhorns are averaging 154 rushing yards per game.
David Sills V, West Virginia receiver
If anyone bet on a dropoff for Sills after last year’s 18-touchdown season, that may have been a foolish wager. Sills already has nine touchdown catches; only four other receivers in the country have more than that. The 6-4, 210-pound receiver has 37 catches; he had been held under 100 yards in five straight games but broke back out in last week’s win over Baylor — five catches, 139 yards.