No. 5 West Virginia vs Texas Tech: Preview, Storylines, Prediction

on October 12 2012 10:04 PM
No. 5 West Virginia vs Texas Tech: Preview, Storylines, Prediction

The march continues for No. 5 West Virginia in its first year as a member of the Big 12 Conference. The Mountaineers took out two Texas teams in their first two Big 12 contests and a third team from the Lone Star State is up next, as WVU will take to the road once again to face Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday.

The Mountaineers will be coming off an impressive road victory over Texas, while the Red Raiders will be looking to bounce back from an unimpressive performance in a home loss to Oklahoma.

TTU was exposed on both sides of the ball in the loss, as quarterback Seth Doege was intercepted three times by the OU defense, while the TTU defense was carved up for 380 yards and 41 points—by far its worst game of the season.

Still, the Red Raiders lead the nation in passing defense and boast the No. 2 total defense in the country.

Squaring off with the nation's top passing defense will be the nation's best quarterback, senior Geno Smith, who is undisputed the Heisman Trophy favorite at this point in the season.

The senior has thrown for just less than 2,000 yards already this year to go with a 24:0 touchdown to interception ratio, so he should provide an adequate test for the touted TTU defense. 

Storylines

1. Dana Holgorsen's return to Lubbock

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen will take his Mountaineers to Lubbock for the first time since he came to Morgantown. He coached for the Red Raiders from 2000-2007, where he coached alongside one of the game's most innovative offensive minds—Mike Leach. Much of the legacy left by Holgorsen and Leach still remain in the high-flying TTU offense.

2. Two talented quarterbacks

Both West Virginia's Geno Smith and Texas Tech's Seth Doege have what it takes to throw the ball around the yard at a very high level. Both totaled more than 4,000 yards through the air last year, finishing No. 4 and No. 8 respectively in the nation in passing yardage. So far this year, Doege hasn't quite kept up with Smith, as the WVU signal caller has thrown for 120.8 more yards per game on average. However, while Smith deals with the nation's top pass defense, Doege will go against one of the worst, as WVU ranks No. 121 in the nation allowing 336 yards per game through the air.

3. Must Win Game

For both teams, picking up a win on Saturday is absolutely vital. Texas Tech will need all the wins it can muster up in conference play to stay near the top of the pack after dropping its contest with Oklahoma. West Virginia, meanwhile, has serious national-title aspirations and will need to win—and win impressively—to boost its BCS resume. 

Prediction

West Virginia will expose Texas Tech's defense as being overrated, even more so than Oklahoma did last week. The way WVU has been able to succeed both in the air and on the ground will prove to be too much to stop.

At the same time, Doege and the solid TTU running game will be able to stick with the Mountaineers. However, it won't last as WVU will notch a few more key defensive stops than Texas Tech.

Both offenses will light it up, but Texas Tech won't be able to keep up over four quarters.

Final Score: West Virginia 55, Texas Tech 41 

Game Information

When: Saturday, Oct. 13 | 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: Jones AT&T Stadium (60,454) | Lubbock, Texas

TV: ABC (Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman, Quint Kessenich)

RadioRaiderVision |MountaineerTV | Sirius 117, XM 202 (TTU) | Sirius/XM 85 (WVU)

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Live Stats: TTU Gametracker | WVU Gametracker

Game Notes: Texas Tech | West Virginia