After a huge win last week by the West Virginia University Football Team in Austin against the Texas Longhorns, the No. 4 ranked Mountaineers [5-0, 2-0] head back to Texas as they get ready to face the Texas Tech Red Raiders [4-1, 1-1] in Lubbock.
The West Virginia offense continues to answer the bell against defenses that many believe will finally slow them down and it is no different this week. Texas Tech has the top ranked pass defense in the country, allowing 117.4 yards per game through the air. On the flip side, West Virginia has the 2nd ranked passing offense, averaging 406.8 yards per game. In other words, it's the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object (sort of).
While the Red Raiders have put up impressive numbers defensively, the teams they have played aren't know for their air attacks. The best passing offense they have defeated in 2012 is Texas State, which ranks 90th in passing yards per game. Other programs they have beaten are Iowa State [91st] and New Mexico [dead last at 124th].
Texas Tech went up against the Oklahoma Sooners last weekend and gave up 259 yards to Landry Jones as the Red Raiders went down 41-20. OU was the first real threat Texas Tech faced defensively all year and struggled to slow the Sooners down.
After the game WVU running back Andrew Buie had last week against Texas [207 yards on 31 carries], can we expect more of the same this week? Texas Tech's rush defense has also been solid, ranking 13th and allowing 92.6 yards per game on the ground. Shawne Alston's status for Saturday is again in question.
"[Texas Tech's] a little different that what we saw out of Texas," Offensive Coordinator Shannon Dawson said. "Texas ran a lot of man [coverage]. [Texas Tech] is going to play man on the edges, covering the outside receivers. It's more of a zone type principle with the middle of the field so they're going to keep two safeties high and play a lot more zone coverage. They're not a heavy blitz team, probably a less than 8% blitz team.
"There's going to be a lot more over-the-top zone coverage and some Cover 3. They will play some man and bring some pressure but it'll be in certain situations but they don't like to do it."
The key for the Mountaineers on this side of the ball is whether or not they win the turnover battle. If you keep the ball out of the Red Raiders' hands, the more opportunities Geno Smith and company will have to put up points.
The Texas Tech offense is averaging 39 points per game and are led by quarterback Seth Doege. The Red Raiders are 7th in the nation in passing yards per game at 341.2. Doege has thrown 15 touchdowns and six interceptions [three last week against Oklahoma].
They have a three-headed monster in the backfield with running backs Kenny Williams [345 yards, two touchdowns], Eric Stephens Jr. [292 yards, three touchdowns] and SaDale Foster [209 yards, one touchdown].
It's no secret that the WVU defense has struggled so far this season. They are 121st nationally in passing yards allowed with 336 yards per game and 106th in points per game at 35. However, the rush defense has been solid, ranking 38th with 124 yards allowed.
"[Texas Tech's] a great team," Linebacker Isaiah Bruce said. "They make a lot of good decisions with their passing and throwing and when they want to do it. I've only had a couple days of film but as far as what we've learned today, I think we should do well and stop the run really well and make them one dimensional. After that, the way the coverage is that the coaches just put in, we should handle the pass pretty well too."
The weather forecast for Lubbock this Saturday is currently calling for a high of 79 degrees and a 10% chance of rain.
The game will be aired on ABC/ESPN reverse mirror at 3:30 p.m. ET.