Can WVU Put an End Bad Trend Against Ranked Opponents
A preview of the conference match up between WVU vs. Texas Tech.
It is something you don’t want buy into, but The Mountaineers are 0-2 against Top 25 opponents this season. Dating back to the middle of last year WVU is 0-4 against the Top 25. A little daunting, but the Mountaineers are looking to change their fortunes against ranked opponents this weekend when #24 Texas Tech rolls into Morgantown.
One thing the Mountaineers can count on going into this game is that, Head Coach Dana Holgorsen has had great success against Texas Tech since joining the Big 12. When asked Texas Tech, Holgorsen was not sure where to give credit for his success against Texas Tech.
“I can’t take any credit for it. If I did, then I can say that about 80 percent of the offenses out there in the Big 12.”
The Red Raiders step into this matchup as not only the ranked opponent, but also as the favorite. Texas Tech also sports a better defense than years past. The numbers are not astounding, but the Red Raiders sport playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, that have been productive and a great asset to the Texas Tech defense. Linebackers Dakota Allen and Jordyn Brooks are tackling machines who move well sideline-to-sideline. Both linebackers average around eight tackles a game and will make their presence felt. On the defensive line the Red Raiders have a nuisance to opposing offenses. D-lineman Eli Howard has 2.5 sacks this season to go along with 2 forced fumbles. The Red Raiders defense is creative, and the kind of defense that you do not want to take for granted.
Although the Texas Tech defense has improved, the Red Raiders still give up a lot of yards, and for the Mountaineers the more yards equals more points that will eventually be put on the board. The Red Raiders allow 138 rushing yards per game, which bodes well for Senior Running back Justin Crawford, who has rushed for at least 100 yards in every contest this year. Through the air, Texas Tech allows the second most passing yards in the conference only ahead of the Kansas Jayhawks.
Need I say more. Manning watch list quarterback Will Grier, looks to have another big day through the air, given that the Red Raiders are practically giving away 350 yard passing days. Grier is averaging 364 yards passing a game, only two quarterbacks in the Big 12 have passed for more yards than quarterback Will Grier, and one of them plays for Texas Tech. Quarterback Nick Shimonek is third in the Big 12 in total offense, which shows the Red Raiders are very capable of stretching the field, especially with wide receiver Keke Coutee who has 39 receptions(leads Big 12) for 586 receiving yards and five touchdowns so far this season. Coutee has been one of the more exciting receivers in the Big 12, and has big play capability.
Texas Tech sports the second best passing offense in the Big 12, but the run game does not match. The Red Raiders are seventh in the conference in rushing, which helps the Mountaineers who have struggled to defend the run this season, and made huge strides in defending the run with the return of linebacker David Long Jr.
Expect another shootout from the Mountaineers on Saturday, since both teams are capable of hitting the home run at any time.