Big 12 Previews

Texas Tech vs. West Virginia: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at West Virginia

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Texas Tech vs. West Virginia preview and prediction.

Game Info

Saturday, October 24th, 2020; 4:30 p.m. CST kick off; Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas

TV: ESPN2 (Anish Shroff, Tom Luginbill)

Radio: Texas Tech Sports Network (Brian Jensen); Mountaineer Sports Network (Tony Caridi); Sirius 121, XM 381

Spread: West Virginia -3

Fun Fact: The Red Raiders are 18-6 in Homecoming games during the Big 12 era. Texas Tech has lost consecutive Homecoming games just once during that span, which came during the 2016-17 seasons and one of those losses was to West Virginia (2016).

 

Key Players

West Virginia Mountaineers

RB Leddie Brown

Leddie Brown is having a monster season so far for the Mountaineers, with his best game coming this past weekend with almost 200 rushing yards and an 87-yard touchdown run in the win over Kansas. For the season, Brown is ranked No. 4 nationally in rushing yards per game (128.8), No. 5 in rushing yards (515), No. 6 in all-purpose yardage (151.5) and No. 7 in total touchdowns (7).

LB Tony Fields

Fields is third in the Big 12 Conference with 8.8 tackles per game. He is an Arizona transfer who is quickly making his presence felt with the Mountaineers, who have the best total defense in the country thus far. He started all three years in Tucson (287 total tackles) and is off to a hot start at WVU. His best game this season came against Baylor when he racked up 10 tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

QB Henry Colombi

Colombi gets set for his first start with the Red Raiders after the announcement came last week from Matt Wells that he would be replacing Alan Bowman. But he has played in place of Bowman twice this season and has been effective. The Utah State transfer Colombi has completed 74.1 percent of his passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns in his two games played. Also, the Red Raiders haven’t scored one point in the last 10 drives with Bowman at QB, while Colombi has led the team to 29 points over 10 drives of his own.

DE Eli Howard

Howard is one of Tech’s leaders on defense and he’s been especially effective against the Mountaineers. Howard has found his way into the backfield for a sack in each of the past three games against West Virginia. Howard has 15.5 sacks for his career with 3.0 of those coming versus the Mountaineers. He now goes up against a WVU team that has given up eight sacks in three Big 12 games, which is third-worst in the conference.

 

Key Storylines

West Virginia Mountaineers

The West Virginia Mountaineers have the No. 1 defense in the country. How long will it last? Let’s see. But for WVU, the key this weekend has to be to not let new QB Henry Colombi get confidence and get comfortable. He’s making his first start for the Red Raiders, replacing Alan Bowman, and the best thing WVU can do is get him on his back. This is where this game will be decided, as WVU leads the Big 12 in sacks, while Tech has given up the fewest sacks in the league.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

As for the Red Raiders, they need to get Colombi going and also be better in the red zone. Tech ranks 9th of 10 Big 12 teams in red zone offense, only scoring on 13 of 18 trips. That can’t happen on Sunday as the trips to the red zone against the Mountaineers is going to be hard enough to come by. The hard part? WVU has the No. 1 red zone defense in the Big 12.

Prediction

West Virginia 28, Texas Tech 21

You’re telling me I get the best defense in the country against a back up, transfer QB making his first start of the season? Yes, I always have concerns for WVU making the longest road trip in the Big 12. But this is not Dana Holgorsen’s Mountaineers. Defense travels. And that will be apparent, once again, on Saturday afternoon.

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