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West Virginia vs. Texas Tech: Preview and Prediction

David Long

Here is everything you need to know about the Big 12 matchup between Texas Tech and West Virginia.

Game Info

Noon E.T./11 a.m. CT, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, W.Va.

TV: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boiman)

Away Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network, Sirius 113/XM 387 (Brian Jensen, John Harris, Chris Level)

Home Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network, Sirius 113/XM 207 (Tony Caridi, Dwight Wallace, Jed Drenning)

Texas Tech Head Coach: Matt Wells (3-5 at Texas Tech, 47-39 overall)

Kansas Head Coach: Neal Brown (3-5 at Kansas 38-21 overall)

Series History: West Virginia leads 6-2.  The first meeting came during the 1938 Sun Bowl in which West Virginia defeated Texas Tech 7-6. It was Texas Tech’s only loss that season. West Virginia’s only loss came at the hands of eventual National Champion Pittsburgh.

Series in Morgantown: West Virginia leads 2-1. Texas Tech’s only victory came during their first trip to Morgantown in 2013, which served as the final victory during a 7-0 start that season.

Opening Line: Texas Tech -1

Moneyline: Texas Tech -117/West Virginia +103

Over/Under: 60

Fun Facts: Neal Brown served as the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech under Tommy Tuberville from 2010-12. His offense was nicknamed the NASCAR offense.

 

Key Players

Texas Tech

RB SaRodrick Thompson

Armand Shyne is out for the season, which means Thompson will need to carry more weight than usual. Ta’Zhawn Henry will receive more reps than normal this game. The rushing attack is crucial for Tech. It will be even more important in cold temperatures (30s and 40s are forecasted). This offense runs like an old vehicle. It takes a while to heat up, but once it gets going, it can run like a bat out of Hell. Like a viscous fluid, it may take Duffey longer to warm up this game. There is the possibility Alan Bowman receives the start, but his fluid would contain more rust and will probably have a higher viscosity than Duffey.

DB Douglas Coleman

To win this game, the turnover battle will be crucial. Douglas has seven interceptions this year. If the front seven can create pressure in the backfield, Tech will win this game. Kendall will throw interceptions and Douglas will be waiting for that moment. Tech’s offense is typically slow out of the gates. The defense is who typically keeps the Red Raiders in the game. An early turnover could be fatal to West Virginia.

West Virginia

QB Austin Kendall

Kennedy McKoy was mentioned as questionable during Neal Brown’s Tuesday press conference. Even if McKoy is playing banged up, the pressure mounts on Kendall’s shoulders. This is a must-win game. Kendall is in his final season of eligibility. It’s time for him to shine. If West Virginia drops this game, Kendall’s bowl hopes go down the gutter.

LB Darius Stills

Stills has 12 tackles of loss. He has seven sacks. The more he gets into the Tech backfield, the slower that offense is going to start. There’s a chance Tech’s offense might never get started. If the Red Raider offense fails to ignite, West Virginia wins and keeps their bowl hopes alive.

 

Key Storylines

Texas Tech

This except from the Kansas game is too good not to delete: 

“Texas Tech is 9-26 in the month of November post-Mike Leach (2010). Two of those victories are against Weber State and Houston in 2010. Thus, against Big 12 foes, Tech is 7-26 in the month of November post-Mike Leach. The schedule certainly eases up for Tech, but history has a way of repeating itself. Tech can certainly go 4-0 this November (at WVU, vs. TCU, vs. Kansas State, at Texas). It’s highly unlikely they win the final two games. Their games against West Virginia and TCU could easily be considered toss-ups.” 

I considered the Kansas game a must-win. I was wrong. In fact, West Virginia is not a must-win. At the time, it looked like Texas was much better. The Longhorns are injury plagued and Alan Bowman may be ready by that game. Tech has also been much better at home this season than on the road. They could very well pull off an upset of Kansas State. A victory this week would greatly help Tech’s bowl chances. It would boost Tech’s confidence on the road and give the players momentum going into crucial games against TCU and Kansas State.

West Virginia

This is a must-win for West Virginia. With a loss here, they’ll be 3-6 entering Bill Snyder Family Stadium. I’m chalking that up as a loss. The Mountaineers can topple Oklahoma State and anything can happen when bowl eligibility is on the line against TCU. If West Virginia does not win this game, the season is over. 

Prediction

West Virginia 31 Texas Tech 27

Tech has some massive road woes and Morgantown is not a good place to end those. Even if the Mountaineers are in a down season, Tech gets to fly from Lubbock to Pittsburgh before taking a bus one hour and 20 minutes into a mountainous territory. Add on that West Virginia is one of the most hostile environments in the country and there’s a jet lag factor too, moving from west to east. When you have issues on the road, you don’t win in Morgantown. Tech has lost to Kansas and Arizona on the road this year. At home, the Red Raiders win both of those games easily. I’m going with the Mountaineers for the specific reason this game is in West Virginia. Like I said, Tech may very well upend Kansas State in Lubbock. Tech is Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde depending on where they play.

West Virginia is similar, but they actually beat Kansas on the road. The Mountaineers also have a victory over North Carolina State at home. Not to mention, Tech has lost its two most recent road games in dramatic fashion. After the missed call on a snap at Baylor and the fumble after a blocked PAT against Kansas, one has to wonder what crazy scenario will cost Tech this game?

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