5 things Texas Tech fans should know about West Virginia: Mountaineers on hot streak


It’s homecoming week in Raiderland.

Texas Tech has a big game on the books against West Virginia on Saturday. The Red Raiders need to capitalize on home games to continue their pursuit of bowl eligibility. This week’s game against JT Daniels and the Mountaineers is no gimme, but it’s one that the Red Raiders can win if they capitalize on their strengths.

Here are five things Texas Tech fans should know about West Virginia:

Slow start, new beginning

West Virginia looked less than impressive to start the season, dropping its first two games against Pitt and Kansas. But the Mountaineers have turned things around for the better. West Virginia has won three of its last four games, including a win against Baylor. Even with its turnaround, West Virginia hasn’t gotten to the meat of its Big 12 schedule. This is still a team that’s a bit of a question mark, and Texas Tech will be looking to take advantage of that.

New year, new QB

JT Daniels is college football’s traveling man. Beginning his career at USC, Daniels then transferred to Georgia to sit behind Stetson Bennett. Ready to take a starting quarterback role, Daniels joined Neal Brown in West Virginia. Daniels is having a strong early season, passing for 1,492 yards, nine touchdowns and throwing only three interceptions. Daniels currently is fifth in the Big 12 in passing yards per game. While his career has been full of ups and downs, Daniels has seemed to fall into a rhythm at West Virginia.

By committee

Leddie Brown provided the Mountaineers with a reliable source of offense in the run game over the past two years. Now in the NFL, West Virginia is having to find another back to pick up yards on the ground. Tony Mathis has been the main ball carrier for the Mountaineers this season, rushing for 459 yards on 92 carries. But while Mathis has been reliable, two other backs have been helping support the run game. CJ Donaldson, a former tight end, has rushed for 389 yards on just 56 carries. Justin Johnson has 235 yards and three touchdowns of his own. It won’t be one guy occupying the Texas Tech run defense’s mind — it will be three.

Sneaky offense

Despite still trying to find a balance between the rush and the pass, West Virginia is still one of the Big 12′s most dangerous offenses. The Mountaineers are averaging 39 points per game, the third-most among Big 12 teams that have played six games. West Virginia has scored 30 or more points in five of six games this season. The Mountaineers know how to put points on the board.

Defensive dichotomy

West Virginia’s defensive strength was stopping the passing game last season, but it has since shifted its attention to the run. The Mountaineers are currently allowing just 112.0 opponent rushing yards per game, the second-fewest in the Big 12. That’s a strong number, especially when a Texas Tech running game that’s struggled is on the opposing side of the line. However, the West Virginia passing defense has shown to have some holes. The Mountaineers are allowing 262.5 opponent passing yards per game, the fourth-most in the conference. The Red Raiders’ offense, which throws the ball more than 50 times per game, will be looking to take advantage of that.

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