AUSTIN, Texas — The last time Texas faced a leading Heisman Trophy contender, coach Mack Brown told his defense "Don't let him win it against you."
How'd that work out? Baylor's Robert Griffin III passed for two touchdowns, ran for two more and one week later accepted the trophy in New York.
"They handed it to him at halftime," Brown said.
Ten months and a new season later, here comes West Virginia's Geno Smith, the nation's top-rated passer and the guy everyone is comparing to Griffin after his eight TD passes and 656 yards against Baylor last week. The No. 8 Mountaineers (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) and No. 11 Longhorns (4-0, 1-0) play Saturday night.
For West Virginia, a road win in front of about 100,000 Texas fans and a national television audience would not only solidify Smith as the mid-season Heisman favorite, but also send a statement that the Mountaineers have every intention of winning the Big 12 their first year in the league.
"The crowd's going to be rocking," Smith said. "We still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do."
It will be the first trip to Texas for most of the Mountaineers players, but not for coach Dana Holgorsen, who was an assistant at Texas Tech and Oklahoma State before going to Morgantown. He's talked to his team about what to expect: the crowd, the girls and Texas' famous Bevo steer mascot.
"I'm looking forward to it," Holgorsen said. "There will be a lot of people, cheerleaders and (the) longhorn in the end zone."
So call it the perfect stage for another national statement by Smith, who has been picking apart defenses with a staggering 83 percent completion rate, 20 touchdowns and no interceptions.
"Amazing," Texas cornerback Carrington Byndom said.
WEST VIRGINIA at TEXAS
7 p.m. today, FOX