Everything You Need to Know About Texas Tech vs West Virginia
Saturday, November 7, the Mountaineers will host the Red Raiders at 11 a.m. in Morgantown, West Virginia.
The last time the Red Raiders went to Morgantown, Davis Webb led the team to a 32-27 comeback victory. That was the 7th and final win of the Red Raiders 2013 regular season. In 2015, the Red Raiders are looking for their sixth win to get to bowl eligibility.
West Virginia (3-4, 0-4 Big 12) is not just close to must-win territory; they are neck-deep in it. An 0-4 Big 12 start has warmed the seat of West Virgina head coach Dana Holgerson considerably. After projections of grandeur before the season, the Mountaineers have had a disastrous season so far. Cue the dueling banjos.
Texas Tech (5-4, 2-4 Big 12) is getting close to must-win territory with the final three games of the schedule looming. Before the season started, I projected this team to be 7-5. At this point, I think 6-6 is more manageable. When you peel back the curtain to this season, it's hard to be discouraged.
I know: "5-4." Just keep reading.
The combined record of the teams who have beaten Texas Tech in 2015 is 30-1. Wow. 30-1. Texas Tech’s four losses have all come to teams currently ranked in the top 15 of this week’s Associated Press poll. All four of which could win the Big 12.
Temper your expectations.
The defense is improved. Again, I know, it sounds crazy. More yards per game, more yards per play -- hard to see improvement. David Gibbs was hired to change a culture. The turnover margin is +2, the best it's been since 2008. Tech was pretty good in 2008.
I also motion that the defense is not all Gibbs' fault. Everyone needs someone to blame. I guess it's human nature. Let's as a fanbase blame whoever is behind the Texas Tech bye week situation.
Want to know why the run defense has been terrible for the last few weeks? The defense is tired. The Texas Tech big wigs don't want to play during finals week. That's great. These are student athletes -- "student" being the key word. I get that. But you are also setting them up to fail at the end of the season.
Texas Tech has been awful at the end of the season since 2011. And by awful, I mean 1-4, 0-5, 1-4 and 0-5. Texas Tech is the only team in the Big 12 that plays 11 games before a bye week. The second longest to start a season without a bye week in the Big 12? The TCU Horned Frogs, who play 7.
At this point in the season, the predictions are beginning to run together. Mostly because the offense has been consistently good and Patrick Mahomes and DeAndre Washington are the cornerstones of this explosive Texas Tech offense.
In fact, Washington is only 63 rushing yards away from becoming the first Red Raider to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons since Byron Hanspard in 1995 and 1996. The running game is one of the reasons to be excited for the future. In the Leach era, "dynamic" meant passing every down. The Kingsbury era is trending toward balance. Balance is good. Look for balance offensively against West Virginia.
Also, I've got two words for ya: Jakeem Grant. What a stud. He's coming for you.
This defense is toast. They will not stop anyone who is going to run the ball. Kansas State and Texas are licking their chops. Dana Holgerson is wondering who Wendell Smallwood is. Everyone might know his name after this week.
Smallwood is the Mountaineers' main threat out of the backfield, along with Rushel Shel. Both should have plenty of opportunities to gain yards on the ground this week against Tech.
I'm not trying to be disparaging toward the defense, but any team in the nation could put up 250 yards rushing on Texas Tech. West Virginia will take their chances this weekend.
West Virginia will score 40+ in this game.
For recreational use, West Virginia is the favorite by 8 points.
I think that Tech will cover, but the defense will falter late and give up a game-winning drive, 49-45.