PREVIEW: West Virginia Looking to Bounce Back Against Texas Tech
The West Virginia Mountaineers (2-2, 0-1) host the Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-1, 0-1) for Homecoming weekend.
Texas Tech has notched three wins this season against Houston, Stephen F. Austin and Florida International, their only loss coming to Texas last week 70-35. By comparison, West Virginia had two wins over LIU and Virginia Tech with losses against Maryland and last week in the dying seconds at Oklahoma.
Tech is averaging 301 yards per game in the air in the first four games of the season, ranking 20th nationally and third in the Big 12 Conference. Starting quarterback Tyler Shough was knocked out of the game against Texas in the second quarter, and Henry Colombi replaced him, throwing for 324 yards on 17-23 passes and three touchdowns. He made his first career start last season against the Mountaineers, passing for 166 yards, rushing for 40 more and two total TDs in the 34-27 victory.
West Virginia settles into a two-quarterback system, with Jarret Doege getting most of the shots, while Garrett Greene has seen his role increase in the last two games, mostly in the running game.
Erik Ezukanma leads the Big 12 in receiving, averaging 101.5 yards per game and Kaylon Geiger is second on the team with 58.0 yards per game. On the other hand, Byrce Ford-Wheaton leads the Mountaineers in receiving, with 54.8 yards per game, and recorded a record 93 tagging yards last week against Oklahoma.
Texas Tech’s rushing offense is led by Taijh Brooks’ 94.7 yards per game, including the run for a career-high 134 yards in Game 1 of the season against Houston. Leddie Brown of West Virginia is averaging 80.3 yards per game. The last time Brown ran at Morgantown, he scored 161 yards, a career-high, against nationally ranked Virginia Tech.
Defensively, the Red Raiders rank in the bottom half of each defensive category in the Big 12. They allow 33.5 points per game, placing ninth, and 377.5 on total offense puts them in eighth. However, they have the Big 12’s best six interceptions by six different Red Raiders, which places them at No. 10 nationally. Meanwhile, West Virginia ranks in the top 25 in scorers (25) and ground defense (23). Additionally, West Virginia is fifth in the NCAA in tackles for a loss with 37 and their 14 sacks lead the Big 12, with Taijh Alson’s 4.5 sacks leading the conference.
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