#24 Texas Tech
#12 West Virginia
Kick-off: Noon est
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Announcers: Anish Shroff and Ahmad Brooks
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The No. 12 West Virginia Mountaineers head to Lubbock, Texas to take on the No. 12 Texas Red Raiders in a Big 12 Conference showdown. West Virginia leads the all-time series 5-2 and has won the last four against the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech comes into the game on a three-game win streak, including a win at then-ranked No. 17 Oklahoma State last week. Freshman Quarterback Alan Bowman started all three games. During that span, he has completed 100 of 130 passes (76.9%) for 1,287 and nine touchdowns.
TJ Vasher, who is a huge playmaker at the wide reciever position for Tech, is questionable for the game. He’s averaging 17.1 yards per catch and has three touchdowns on the year. The six-foot-five, 200-pound receiver will be missed if he can’t go, but Texas Tech has another big receiver in Antoine Wesley that actually leads the team with 30 receptions. Ja’Deion High, KeSean Carter and Zach Austin will help fill in any void potentially left by Vasher.
The Red Raiders are the No. 1 offense in the country, averaging 624 yards per game. It’s not the typical offense you’re used to seeing coming out of West Texas, though. Yes, they do still throw the ball around and most of the yards (435.8 pypg) are through the air. However, they have been running the ball efficiently too, averaging 187.8 yards per game, and that balance is what makes this Tech team more dangerous than others.
Texas Tech’s defense hasn’t been great in its first four games, giving up 437.2 yards per game and 6.1 yards per play. They did hold Oklahoma State under 20 points a week ago, though, and that could be the start of something coming together.
The defense is averaging just under two sacks a game, led by linebacker Tony Jones. What they’ve done well is get off the field on third down. They’re holding their opponents to 28% on third downs; however, it’s stopping opponents on first and second down that seems to be Tech's Achilles Heel.
The Mountaineers have dominated their first three opponents, and it’s been the defense that’s grabbed the momentum to take over these games.
The offense has been very efficient this year. Quarterback Will Grier is No. 2 in the country in passing efficiency (215.8). West Virginia has converted 62% of its third downs this season, ranking them second nationally.
West Virginia has arguably the best receiving core in the country. David Sills, Marcus Simms and Gary Jennings have combined for 782 yards and 10 touchdowns in three games.
The Mountaineer rushing attack has seen four different players run the ball. There hasn’t been a timetable for Alec Sinkfield's return from an injured ankle, but Martell Pettaway, Kennedy McKoy and Leddie Brown have all run the ball at a high level.
The defense is first in the country in points allowed (12.3) and third in tackles for a loss per game (10.0). The unit been aggressive and have given this program a huge boost. Linebacker David Long leads the team with 30 tackles, but its been a group effort out there on the field. This is the deepest unit Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson has ever had in his time at WVU. He also says it’s the fastest defense he’s had in his entire career.
Conference roads games are tough to win, and Texas Tech looks to have a Big 12 title contender. This will be the toughest opponent the Mountaineers have faced thus far this season. The nation’s No. 1 offense in total yards looks to be unstoppable, but Tony Gibson seems to have the Red Raiders figured out, and he’s been a big reason why the Mountaineers have won four straight games against Texas Tech.
This game most certainly could be close. However, West Virginia has too much talent and depth for Texas Tech, and it should pull away late in the third quarter.
Mountaineers win 48-27.