Hook ’em, Mountaineers

Hook ‘em.
Longhorns and the burnt orange uniforms.
The Longhorn Network and athletic director DeLoss Dodds.
Darrell Royal Stadium and the fringed sleeves of the hundreds in the University of Texas marching band.
Unbeaten for Coach Mack Brown, long enough in Austin that the brown hair he brought with him from North Carolina has slowly turned gray.
And into the Valley of Death in Austin march the eighth-ranked West Virginia University Mountaineers.
Maybe “march” isn’t the correct word when describing the unbeaten, untied Mountaineers. Maybe it should be coming in on the wings of the 70 points needed to bump past the Baylor Bears. Those 70 points were mostly provided by quarterback Geno Smith and his so-far lethal wide receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin.
Now Baylor had 63 points with its quick-paced offense. But 63 points just weren’t enough. Not with Smith pitching for eight touchdowns while completing 45 of 51 passes.
Smith has thrown for more than 1,700 yards in just four games. What is absolutely incredible is that he has not thrown an interception. None of his passes has bounced off the chest of an intended receiver and popped into the hands of a defender.
No interceptions for Smith.
Bailey catches enough of Smith’s darts to amass more than 300 yards and score five times against the Bears. Austin caught about a dozen himself.
West Virginia is 4-0. It’s only game away from Mountaineer Field was at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., a neutral site for the $2.3 million-payday game against James Madison.
Playing in Austin will be an adventure.
The high-rise stadium seats 100,119 and the record crowd in there was more than 101,000 for a game against the Rice Owls. The student body numbers over 50,000 and the faculty and staff has over 24,000 people.
Texas is unbeaten, having opened its Big 12 schedule with a road victory in Stillwater against Oklahoma State last Saturday. Mack’s Longhorns beat Oklahoma State, 41-36. The Longhorns own other wins against Wyoming, New Mexico, and the Ole Miss Rebels.
Texas is ranked 11th.
It has a much-improved quarterback in David Ash and it trumpets the quality of its defensive ends, Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor.
West Virginia has yet to run much at all. But when your quarterback is pitching for more than 600 yards, running seems unnecessary. It will become necessary. Possibly as soon as Saturday night at 7 p.m. when the Longhorns and Mountaineers begin their Big 12 struggle on the Fox Network.

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