Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our West Virginia vs. Texas Tech preview and prediction.
Saturday, October 2nd, 2021; 3:30 p.m. EST; Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, West Virginia
Radio: Red Raiders Radio Network/Mountaineer Sports Network
Spread: West Virginia -7.5
Fun Fact: This will be the first time Texas Tech and West Virginia have not played in a 12 p.m. local/11 a.m. CT start in Morgantown since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 prior to the 2012 season.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
QB Henry Colombi
Colombi now takes over as the starting QB after Tyler Shough left last week’s game against Texas with an injury. Colombi performed fairly well in relief last week, completing 17/23 passes for 324 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. However, it mostly came after the game was long out of reach. Last season, he passed for 1,065 yards with eight touchdowns to four interceptions in six games. Against the Mountaineers last season, he threw for 169 yards, one touchdown, while also rushing for 40 yards and a score.
LB Colin Schooler
Schooler is sixth in the Big 12 Conference with 29 tackles this season. The Arizona transfer came in last season and made a big impact, ranking 9th in the Big 12 in tackles per game. He’s a veteran leader of this unit, and given their struggles last week against Texas, the entire defense needs a bounce-back performance this weekend, and Schooler will be a big reason why both on the field as an a leader off of it.
West Virginia Mountaineers
RB Leddie Brown
Brown remains the engine of the offense for the Mountaineers, averaging 80 rushing yards per game, which ranks 9th in the Big 12. But his five rushing touchdowns are tied for second in the league. This offense is still finding its way, although the unit has also had a much tougher schedule through four games, playing Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Maryland. If there is time for Leddie Brown to have that big breakout game, it can be this weekend against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
LB Josh Chandler-Semedo
After ranking eighth in the Big 12 in tackles per game last season, Chandler-Semedo currently ranks second in the Big 12 in total tackles with 35 and second in tackles per game at 8.8. The senior is trying to build on his 2020 campaign when he started nine games and was the third-leading tackler for WVU with 64 tackles, including 32 solo stops, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and an interception.
The Red Raiders’ defense needs to hold WVU to field goals in this game, to give Colombi and the offense a chance to gel and get some points on the board. Tech ranks in the middle of the pack in the conference in red zone defense, allowing an 82% conversion rate. WVU’s red zone defense is the best in the league. Points could be hard to come by in this one, so Tech needs to lock it down as best as they can, especially inside their own 20 on defense.
Leddie Brown needs to carve up the Texas Tech rushing defense just like Bijan Robinson and company did last week in Austin, when Texas rushed for 336 yards, good for a 6.5 yards per carry clip. I wrote last week that the Tech run defense, which was ranked 2nd in the Big 12 at that time, was a paper tiger and had not faced any real competition from a backfield like the Longhorns. The same can be said about Leddie Brown. With the continued issues in the passing game, Leddie needs to get this one going, and get it going early and often.
Prediction: West Virginia 24, Texas Tech 17
I don think this will be a pretty game, but it should be a close game. These two teams have historically played tight match ups. Four of the last seven games have been decided by eight points or less. But ultimately, the Mountaineers are home and the more balanced team, and they’ll take the victory on the back of Leddie Brown.