Good Guys: Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-1, 1-1)
Bad Guys: West Virginia Mountaineers (3-2, 1-1)
When: Saturday, October 14th at 11:00 a.m.
Where: Milan Puskar Stadium; Morgantown, West Virginia
TV/Stream: ESPNU (Watch ESPN)
Radio/Stream: 97.3 FM | Affiliates | TuneIn App
What Happened Last Week
|Key Stats:||80 rushes; 562 yards; 6 touchdowns; 7.0 yards per carry|
|Key Stats:||63% completion rate; 1,740 yards; 16 touchdowns; 4 interceptions; 8.8 yards per attempt|
West Virginia started out the season with a tough match-up, against Virginia Tech, losing a close game in D.C., 24-31. I think that Virginia Tech is a better team, so a close loss means that they were probably pretty close in terms of talent. The Mountaineers then rattled off three straight wins, beating East Carolina 56-20 (you think that East Carolina deeply regrets firing Ruffin McNeill because I think they do). Then an incredibly easy win against Delaware State, 59-16 and then defeated Kansas 56-34. The problem with the Kansas win was that they allowed Kansas to run for a ton of yards, but hey, they still won by 18 or so, so I don’t see a huge problem there.
The next game was a big one, Game Day was in Fort Worth as West Virginia traveled to TCU and lost a relatively close game.
Why This Game Is Important
This is one of those games that Texas Tech can mark off their list of teams that have seemingly beat them over and over despite hat I would think that most Texas Tech fans believe that these teams are closer than they are further apart. What’s always separated these two teams is West Virginia’s stellar defense and running game.
Both teams have their lone conference win against Kansas, so a win here would mean some legitimacy for sure.
What to Know About West Virginia
|Key Stats:||57 tackles; 7 tackles for loss; 13 run stuffs; 1 interception; 2 pass break-ups|
|Key Stats:||19 tackles; 2 tackles for a loss; 3 run stuffs; 2 interceptions; 1 pass break-up|
Florida transfer quarterback Will Grier has been very good for West Virginia not turning the ball over and I think that Grier is certainly an upgrade over last year’s quarterback in terms of talent. Running the ball is Justin Crawford, who is by far the team leader doubling any other running back, while sophomore Kennedy McKoy (6-0/201) is the back-up and he’s nearly as explosive Crawford where he has run for 216 yards on 38 carries for 5.7 yards per carry. Grier will also run the ball, as he has 32 carries for 170 yards (this does not include sacks) and is technically the team’s third leading rusher.
The receivers are elite and explosive and they’re all pretty darned big. There’s obviously a “type” of receiver that West Virginia recruits and it’s a guy that’s about 6’1″ and about 200 pounds. Junior Gary Gennings (6-1/210) leads the team with 39 catches for 518 yards, 13.3 yards per catch and 1 touchdown. Fellow junior David Stills (6-4/203) has been terrific grabbing 33 catches for 512 yards and 9 touchdowns with 15.5 yards per catch. Stills is the former quarterback recruit who was offered by Lane Kiffin at USC, went to West Virginia as a quarterback recruit, played some at receiver before transferring to a JUCO to try to revive his quarterback career before going back to West Virginia as a receiver. KatCORaun White (6-1/199) is third on the team with 23 catches, 347 yards and 3 touchdowns while Marcus Simms (6-0/196) rounds out the top four receivers with 11 catches for 243 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Some way, some how, West Virginia ends up having a senior safety that I’ve never heard of that ends up being really good and that’s true of Kyzir White (6-2/216) (although I think that Kyzir is related to KatCORaun who is also related to another White, who is now in the NFL). As you all know, West Virginia runs the 3-3-5 and safety play is always incredibly important (truthfully, this is what Texas Tech runs now too with Tony Jones at that third linebacker / rush end position). Also at safety is Dravon Askew-Henry (6-2/200) who has 21 tackles and one tackles for a loss and I think Dylan Tonkery rounds out the top three safeties with Marvin Gross, Jr. (6-3/205) and Kenny Robinso (6-2/202) seeing back-up time.
At linebacker is Benton, Brendan Ferns (6-2/230) and Xavier Preston (6-2/240) who aren’t nearly as productive as Benton (only 9.5 tackles for Ferns and 13.5 for Preston).
At the defensive line is Adam Shuler II (6-4/268), Reese Donahue (6-4/263), Lamonte McDougle (5-10/295 and Xavier Pegues (6-2/292). West Virginia has seemingly always had bigger defensive linemen, at least that’s my recollection so I’m a bit surprised that there aren’t some bigger dudes along the line.
The Early Line
Via OddsShark, the line opened at West Virginia favored by 7 and has been teased down to 6 and even 5 in some places.