MORGANTOWN, WV (KCBD) - For the first time since 2014, the Red Raiders are coming off a second-bye week in a season.
The Red Raiders enter this weekend's game against West Virginia looking for their first win in Morgantown since 2013, and their first win over the Mountaineers in five years.
So, here are my three keys to victory for Texas Tech to defeat West Virginia on the country roads:
The offensive line needs to play well: There is no question, heading into this game the Mountaineers hang their hat on the defensive side of the ball. Specifically, their secondary and their defensive line... West Virginia's pass rush is dangerous and it's headed by the Stills brothers: Dante and Darius. Dante leads the team with seven sacks, while Darius is second on the team with six sacks. No doubt, these two are dominant forces on the line and the Red Raider offensive line will have to be prepared.
Secondary has to step up: Coming into this game, the Red Raider secondary has to know they will be busy... Right now, the West Virginia offense averages 79 rushing yards and 30 carries per game. I am no math major, but that an average of fewer than 3 yards per carry and that's not good. So, that forces the Mountaineer offense to be one-dimensional and throw the football. That means the thin Red Raider secondary will be tested early and often. But the good news is - Mountaineer quarterback Austin Kendall isn't consistent.
Play with a sense of urgency: Both teams enter this game with a "must-win" attitude. But, after falling to Kansas and then having two-weeks to sit on the loss. Texas Tech has to come out with a sense of urgency; firing on all cylinders. The team has made it very clear that they want to go to a bowl game in the first year of the Matt Wells era. And, with four games remaining on the schedule and still needing three wins - Texas Tech has to win here. So, they have to start fast and keep their football on the gas pedal if they want to get their first road win of the year.
Final Thoughts: The Red Raider offense will have the edge in the game, but on the flip side, the West Virginia defense has been much better this season. Plus, the Mountaineers have a 1,500-mile home-field advantage. But, if the Red Raiders can do these three keys - I could see them coming in and beating the Mountaineers on their home turf.
Pete: Texas Tech 34, West Virginia 31
Devin: Texas Tech 28, West Virginia 31