Big 12 Previews

Texas Tech vs. West Virginia: Preview, Prediction, and Game Odds

Syndication: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Here is everything you need to know ahead of the matchup between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

GAME INFO

Saturday, September 23; 2:30 p.m. CT; Milan Puskar Stadium; Morgantown, West Virginia

TV: ESPN+

Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network (Tony Caridi, Dwight Wallace, Jed Drenning); Texas Tech Sports Network (Brian Jensen, John Harris, Chris Level)

Records: West Virginia (2-1); Texas Tech (1-2)

Rankings: N/A

Series History: Series tied, 6-6-0

Last Meeting: Texas Tech 48, West Virginia 10 (2022)

Line: Texas Tech (-6.0)

Fun Fact: While the all-time series between these two programs is tied at six wins a piece, Texas Tech holds the edge as of late with four consecutive wins in the series, including the largest margin of victory for either team in 2022 (48-10).

 

KEY PLAYERS

West Virginia Mountaineers

QB Nicco Marchiol

With starting quarterback Garrett Greene’s status up in the air this week, it might be time for Nicco Marchiol to make the first start of his college career. The former four-star quarterback got some action last week in West Virginia’s win over Pitt, completing six of nine attempts for 60 yards and one score. Now, with Big 12 play opening up, Neal Brown might be forced to give the reins to the youngster, which is both exciting and terrifying if you’re a Mountaineer fan. Either way, we’re likely to get a good look at No. 8 this week.

DB Beanie Bishop

While Lee Kpogba is the heart and soul of the West Virginia defense, the defensive backfield has seen Beanie Bishop Jr. become a major part of their success to this point. Ranking third on the team in tackles (16) and first in PBUs (2) and INTs (2), Bishop has been the best cover player that the Mountaineers possess. With Zach Kittley’s wide-open air raid attack coming to town, Bishop will be very busy on Saturday.

 

Texas Tech Red Raiders

QB Tyler Shough

Texas Tech quarterback Tyler Shough has already experienced some highs and some lows this season with nine total touchdowns and almost 900 yards of total offense, but also four interceptions and nine sacks. The Red Raiders’ offense has followed Shough’s lead too, with stretches of brilliance followed by head-scratching errors. With Big 12 play now on deck, those errors can’t continue, and on the road in Morgantown is a tough place to try and get things straightened out.

DB Malik Dunlap

Last week against Tarleton State, Texas Tech defensive back Malik Dunlap recorded two interceptions, one of which was returned 54 yards for the game’s opening score. After surrendering 35 and 38 points to Wyoming and Oregon, the Red Raiders picked up some confidence by holding Tarleton to just three points. Now, can they capitalize on that and get things rolling against an FBS program? If so, it might mean Dunlap continues to be involved by making big plays in the defensive backfield.

 

KEY STORYLINES

West Virginia Mountaineers

How does Nicco Marchiol look as the starter, and not the backup? Sometimes, when the backup comes off the bench and shines, he flounders a week later as being the starter is just another level of responsibility. However, there are also times when a backup gets the starting job, but never gets it back. Against a struggling Texas Tech team, Marchiol has the chance to win this job for good, but will he?

Texas Tech Red Raiders

Can the Red Raiders keep Tyler Shough upright? Through three games, Texas Tech has allowed a total of 10 sacks, nine of which have been Shough. With a littered injury history already, the amount of hits that Shough should be taking should be limited, and that’s just not happening right now. Keeping him clean and giving him time to get the ball downfield will help the TTU offense immensely, but whether the offensive line can do that or not, I’m not so sure.

PREDICTION: Texas Tech 27, West Virginia 21

If Garrett Greene and CJ Donaldson were 100% healthy, I’d be tempted to back the home underdog in this game, but since they aren’t, I’m rolling the dice on Joey McGuire. Tyler Shough has been under duress a bunch this season, and that will likely continue on Saturday. However, another good showing from Tahj Brooks and an opportunistic defense facing a first-time starter gives Tech enough advantages here for me to pick them outright.

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