Freshman Shane Buechele has already played in his share of big games in his first season and has fared well. For a true freshman, Buechele has been very consistent and poised week to week.
Senior Skyler Howard has also been very steady and consistent this season for the Mountaineers. Howard throws the ball well and has six rushing touchdowns.
Junior D’Onta Foreman now leads the nation in rushing yards per game after a monster 341-yard, three-touchdown game against Texas Tech. There’s not much to say at this point other than that Foreman is just shredding defenses.
West Virginia has multiple talented backs, including senior Rushel Shell, junior Justin Crawford and freshman Kennedy McKoy. The Mountaineers rank third in the Big 12 in rushing offense.
Freshman Collin Johnson showed why he’s such a threat in one-on-one coverage last week, hauling in two jump balls in the end zone for touchdowns. Each week it seems a different Texas receiver breaks out.
Senior Daikiel Shorts and junior Shelton Gibson are Skyler Howard’s primary weapons in the passing game. Shorts and Gibson each had over 100 yards last week, and the two combined for three touchdowns.
The Texas offensive line has been excellent at the point of attack this season and opened up a bevy of holes for D’Onta Foreman. The Longhorns’ pass protection can be shaky at times as they’ve given up 20 sacks.
West Virginia has a stable offensive line that has only allowed 14 sacks on the season, which ranks second in the Big 12. The Mountaineers opened up lots of holes against Kansas last week and paved the way for 341 yards on the ground for the Mountaineers.
The Longhorns’ defensive line has been shaky against the run this season but effective in pressuring the quarterback. Texas is tied for first in the Big 12 in sacks with 34.
Senior end Noble Nwachukwu is one of the most dynamic pass-rushers in the Big 12. West Virginia runs a 3-3-5 defensive scheme, which makes it tougher up front to defend against the run.
Sophomore Malik Jefferson, once mired in a midseason slump, has wreaked havoc on the field lately. Jefferson had eight tackles and 1.5 sacks against Texas Tech and was key in containing quarterback Patrick Mahomes II.
Senior Justin Arndt leads West Virginia in tackles with 46. He and the Mountaineers face a huge task in trying to stop D’Onta Foreman at the second level on Saturday.
Sophomore cornerback Kris Boyd came up with the game-clinching interception in the end zone against Texas Tech. The Texas secondary has continued to steadily improve the past few games after a rough start to the season.
Senior cornerback Rasul Douglas has a Big 12-leading five interceptions this season. West Virginia ranks fifth in the Big 12 in pass defense.
Lately Texas has not suffered from major special teams miscues that so often plagued the team early in the season. Senior kicker Trent Domingue has made seven of his last eight field goal attempts.
Shelton Gibson had a 51-yard kickoff return last week against Kansas but overall, West Virginia has been pretty average on special teams.