Match-Up Preview: West Virginia-Texas Tech

Match-Ups & Unit Battles As WVU Hosts No. 24 Texas Tech


Match-Up Preview
West Virginia vs Texas Tech

West Virginia rushing offense vs. Texas Tech run defense
Justin Crawford and company have been very consistent running the football this season. Crawford started the year with four straight 100-yard games, and WVU reached at least 200 as a team in each of those. Texas Tech’s rush defense still may not be great (145.0 ypg, 7th in the Big 12), but it is a whole lot better than it was the previous two seasons, when the Red Raiders gave up over 235 yards per game on the ground.
Advantage: West Virginia

West Virginia passing offense vs. Texas Tech pass defense
The Red Raiders have shown some improvement in their run defense this year, but their pass defense is still one of the worst in the FBS ranks, allowing 309.8 ypg. Some of that is a product of who they played, as Arizona State (326), Houston (317) and Oklahoma State (376) all have excellent passing attacks. But so too does West Virginia, which is averaged 363.8 passing yards in its first four games and went over 330 yards in each outting.
Advantage: West Virginia
 
Texas Tech rushing offense vs. West Virginia run defense
Red Raider head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been trying to improve the rushing part of his Air Raid offense. But it’s still been a struggle for him to find consistency on the ground. While Tech did gash Houston for 200 rushing yards, it managed only 72 yards on the ground against Arizona State and 54 against Oklahoma State. And with stationary Nik Shimonek now at QB, TTU doesn’t have the mobility it had with Patrick Mahomes. West Virginia’s own rush defense (226.0 ypg) remains a huge question, though.
Advantage: Even

Texas Tech passing offense vs. West Virginia pass defense
Through its first four games, the Mountaineers’ pass defense was hit or miss. While it was third in the Big 12 in pass D, allowing just 225.0 ypg, it still had given up too many big plays. Against Texas Tech, WVU will be facing a passing offense that is again one of the best in the country. Shimonek may not be able to run like Mahomes, but he can sling it almost as well (410.8 ypg).
Advantage: Texas Tech

Texas Tech special teams vs. West Virginia special teams
These two show very similar special teams numbers. WVU is better in kickoff returns (28.2 to 16.1), but TTU has been better in kickoffs and field goals. The two are basically even in punt returns and net punting. If West Virginia has an advantage, it is in the fact that has a couple more big plays than Tech in the return game this season. But other than that, there’s not much difference.
Advantage: Even
Intangibles
Dana Holgorsen knows Kingsbury well, having coached him while Kliff was a QB at Tech and then getting him into the coaching profession while at Houston. Dana is 3-1 against his old pupil, with the only loss coming at Mountaineer Field in 2013. Since then Kingsbury is just 4-10 in Big 12 road games.
Advantage: West Virginia
 
Prediction
Texas Tech may not be quite as good offensively as it was last year with Mahomes leading the way, but TTU does appear to be a tick better defensively. Kingsbury has struggled against Tony Gibson’s 3-3 odd stack scheme in each of the last three meetings, averaging 20 points less against the Mountaineers – and going 0-3 – than he has against everyone else. No reason to think this will be much different, though Tech is certainly good enough to give WVU plenty of trouble.
 
Predicted Score: West Virginia-42 Texas Tech-33