Could the Loss to Texas Tech be an Anomaly?
The more and more I think back on West Virginia's loss this past weekend to Texas Tech, I begin to think it was just a day where the Mountaineers didn't play their best and Texas Tech just made the plays to win the game. It's not that Texas Tech is a better team, it's not that West Virginia is a bad team for losing to Texas Tech, it's just one of those crazy days in the Big 12 and West Virginia ended up on the wrong side of it.
Head coach Neal Brown said in his postgame press conference that he felt Tech's tempo bothered them and that the defense showed fatigue and he's right. Fortunately for him and the rest of the coaching staff, they won't see another offense operate at that speed until they host Oklahoma later in the season. So just because the Mountaineers surrendered 348 total yards on Saturday means we should write them off as one of the better defenses in the country? Absolutely not.
Henry Colombi was making his first career start and although you can think you know what a team will do with a new starting quarterback, you really don't know until you get into the game. The staff made some adjustments at the half and the defense played much better. The fact of the matter is, a lot of teams are going to struggle in attempt to slow down Texas Tech's offense with Colombi in charge. But fortunately for the remaining teams on Tech's schedule, they now have film to go and breakdown on him with him in full control of the offense, whereas West Virginia didn't.
Let's face it, it's going to be extremely difficult for any team in the Big 12 to finish the season with the No. 1 overall defense or heck, even top 10. The nature of the conference is to move the ball and score points at a rapid rate. There will be other games this season where West Virginia's defense gives up some big plays and maybe gives up 30 plus points in a game, but again, that's expected in this conference.
The main reason I'm not ready to write off West Virginia as being one of the best defenses in the nation is because we've seen them live up to that hype in four of their five games and stymied No. 6 Oklahoma State's offense, albeit without starting QB Spencer Sanders. With that said, the Cowboys still had arguably the best running back in the nation in Chuba Hubbard and arguably one of the best receivers in the nation in Tylan Wallace, yet only gave up 27 points and had many chances to win that game.
The one thing I will say, though, is that we are about to find out how legit this defense really is. There are no more "easy games" left on the schedule and although West Virginia should have beat Texas Tech, it's a game that you have to learn and come back stronger from and it all starts this weekend when the Mountaineers welcome in No. 16 Kansas State to Morgantown.
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