The Mountaineers are now at a cross roads point in the season heading into a matchup with Texas Tech. This a game West Virginia has lost 3 straight years and won’t be easy by any means. With that said, it’s another game WVU desperately needs to win as they hope to continue their season turn around and recharge trust in the climb.
What are the main things WVU can do to finally beat the Red Raiders?
Contain the pass as much as possible
On the bright side for WVU, the Mountaineers are welcoming back Charles Woods for this game against Texas Tech. The star cornerback has been out since early in the Backyard Brawl and had to be carted off the Acrisure Stadium field in Pittsburgh. He eventually was forced to undergo ankle surgery. Getting Woods back in any capacity will be a major plus, especially for a banged up secondary. However, he will only be in a limited role and it’s not exactly fair to expect him to single handily change the fortunes of a unit that has struggled all season.
Either way, WVU will need all hands on deck when they attempt to slow down an aggressive Red Raiders offense, one that is not afraid to take chances through the air. The Mountaineers can at least say they just dealt with a similar type of team in Baylor, but Texas Tech will pose arguably the toughest challenge for the secondary yet. The Red Raiders are averaging 365 passing yards per game.
Protect JT Daniels, especially from Tyree Wilson
It’s always essential for an offensive line to protect its quarterback. That usually goes without saying. But it’s necessary to express when you are attempting to derail an edge rusher like defensive end Tyree Wilson. If Zach Frazier, Doug Nester and others are not at their best, Wilson will surely feast on Daniels all day long. Wilson is second in the Big 12 with 6 sacks. He also ranks 8th nationally with 9 total tackles for a loss.
Win turnover battle
WVU defensive coordinator Jordan Leskey admitted he does not evaluate his defense in yards allowed. Instead, he looks to the turnover margin, which was a big emphasis prior to the Baylor game, and other measures to see how his group played.
WVU DC Jordan Lesley says he doesn’t care about how many yards his defense allows. He’s never used total yards to evaluate a defense. He’s very pleased with performance against Baylor despite yards and points allowed based off expectations and impact on game.
— Mike J. Asti (@MikeAsti11) October 18, 2022
Dante Stills and crew led the team to the win over the Bears by winning the turnover battle and then creating points off those takeaways.
That same thing must happen in Lubbock. And there’s actually plenty of reason to be it can. The Red Roaders are much more one-dimensional than Baylor and pass as much as any team in the country for an average of about 50 times per game. Putting the ball in the air that often may lead to big plays, but it also increases the likelihood for interception, something Texas Tech has had to endure on 10 occasions.
If WVU’s defense can pick up right where they left off last week and force some turnovers, especially if they do this while their offense plays clean and takes care of the football, it could be another game the defense can steal for the Mountaineers.
WVU and Texas Tech will meet at Jones AT&T Stadium this Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 pm EST and the game is to be broadcast nationally on FS1.