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Red Raiders Week 6 vs. West Virginia Mountaineers: Defensive Players to Watch

The Mountaineers have a strong core of veterans on defense.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders will come out of their bye week on October 22nd to face the West Virginia Mountaineers at Jones AT&T Stadium.

We should have a good understanding of what this Red Raider team is by Week 8. Are they heading in the right direction in Year 1 under coach Joey McGuire? Are there still questions about who should be the starting quarterback?

Last year, Texas Tech was able to squeeze out a narrow victory in Morgantown, defeating the Mountaineers 23-20. The Red Raiders have won the last three matchups, but the Mountaineers are 6-5 all-time in the series.

The Mountaineers enter their fourth season under coach Neal Brown with more questions than answers. Brown is 17-18 all time as the head coach of the Mountaineers. This is a “prove it” year for Brown and his staff.

Follow along with as we'll be providing daily previews for the matchup with West Virginia. We've already done a general preview of the Mountaineers as well as offensive players to watch. Now, let's look at the defensive players Tech should keep its eye on in Week 8.

DL Dante Stills

Stills is the veteran presence on the defensive line for the Mountaineers. Neal Brown will rely on Stills to provide a pass rush for this defense. The First-Team All-Big 12 defensive lineman has recorded 19 sacks in his four-year career at West Virginia.

If Stills has another successful season, he should hear his name called in the 2023 NFL Draft. He cannot do it all himself on the line of scrimmage. Young Mountaineer defensive linemen will have to step up.

LB Lee Kpogba

Linebacker will likely be the strength of this West Virginia defense in 2022. Kponga is part of that equation. The transfer linebacker recorded 42 total tackles in 2020 at Syracuse. He played for East Mississippi Community College in 2021 after he was suspended by Syracuse for undisclosed reasons.

Kpogba led the EMCC Lions with 84 tackles, had 5.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks. If Kpogba can bring that production to the Division-1 level, he will be a major player for the Mountaineers.

CB Charles Woods

The secondary is an area of concern for Mountaineers, but Woods gives the group hope. Woods had a strong finish to his junior campaign. He recorded 31 total tackles, four pass breakups, and two interceptions en route to an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection. The former Illinois State Redbird enters the 2022 season on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team. 

You can find Michael Gresser on Twitter @gresser_michael

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