Featured Video from Scott Reichel
In a matchup of Big 12 bottom feeders, the Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-4) travels to face the West Virginia Mountaineers (1-4) in Morgantown on Saturday afternoon. Both teams need to win three of their four remaining games to qualify for a bowl game. Therefore, this game is essentially a must-win for both squads, as each team has a total of three victories.
In their last year's meeting, West Virginia held off a fierce comeback attempt by Texas Tech to garner a 42-34 victory in Lubbock. The Mountaineers led 35-17 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Red Raiders scored 10 unanswered points to cut the deficit to eight. However, senior cornerback Keith Washington Jr. thwarted a late drive by Texas Tech by returning an interception 51-yards for a touchdown to secure the win for WVU. Overall, the Mountaineers have won the last five meetings between the teams and leads the all-time series 6-2. West Virginia has also won two of the three games in Morgantown.
Red Raiders looking to end losing streakTexas Tech is coming off a much-needed off-week as the Red Raiders blew an early 17-point lead in their 37-34 loss to Kansas on Oct. 26. Leading 7-0 after the opening quarter, the Red Raiders scored on each of their first two second-quarter possessions to push their lead to 17-0. Kansas cut the deficit to 17-14 as the Jayhawks scored a touchdown on their final two first-half drives. TTU looked like they were going to take control of the contest following halftime as they put up points on their first two possessions to make the score 27-14. But the Jayhawks scored a touchdown on their final possession of the third quarter to get with 27-20 and then knotted the game up 27-27 with another touchdown 1:18 into the final stanza. It didn't take long for quarterback Jett Duffey and the Red Raiders offense to once again reach the end zone as he connected with Dalton Rigdon for a 48-yard touchdown. Kansas then tied the game up with 5:12 left and then earned kicked a 32-yard field goal for the win as time expired. The loss was TTU's third straight loss.
Duffey was very good against Kansas, completing 23 of 34 passes (67.4%) for 271 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-1 junior is completing 68.4% of his passes for 1,410 yards along with nine touchdowns and just two interceptions for the year. Versatile freshman running back SaRodorick Thompson rushed for 80 yards, and one touchdown on 20 carries against Kansas, marking the third straight game that he has reached the endzone as well as the third time in the last five games that he has totaled at least 80 yards on the ground. Thompson could have a much more significant role against WVU as reserve running back Armand Shyne is out with a rib injury. T.J. Vasher (37 receptions for 473 yards, six TDs) and Rigdon (27 catches for 305 yards, three TDs), who brought in a season-high for 76 yards and a score against KU, lead five players with at least 20 receptions.
Texas Tech is averaging 30.8 points and 478.3 yards a game. The Red Raiders have the nation's 16th best aerial attack as they average 305.3 passing yards. Meanwhile, the Raiders are producing 170 yards on the ground.Defense has been a problem for Texas Tech all season long. The Red Raiders are allowing 29.4 points and 478.4 total yards. They are also permitting 284.9 passing yards and 175.6 rushing yards.
Mountaineers are looking to right the shipWest Virginia enters the game on a four-game losing streak. But the Mountaineers nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year last week as they fell to No. 12 Baylor 17-14 in Waco. While WVU never led in the game and were outgained 453-219, the Mountaineers were able to stay in the game as a result of forcing three turnovers and two big plays. One of those plays was an 83-yard touchdown pass from Austin Kendall to George Campbell to tie the game at seven with 6:42 left in the third quarter. The Bears answered right back, engineering a seven-play, 75-yard drive to re-take the lead 14-7. But the Mountaineers knotted the game up once again as Winston Wright returned the ensuing kickoff 95-yards for a touchdown. West Virginia had a few chances to at least force overtime after Baylor took ahead 17-14 with 10 minutes left in the game. Their best opportunity came following a fumble by Baylor punt returner R.J. Sneed which WVU recovered at the Baylor 34. However, the Mountaineers offense was only able to manage three total yards, and Casey Legg had his 48-yard field goal attempt blocked. WVU's defense did rack up a season-high eight sacks and 12.5 tackles for losses.
Tony Caridi is joined by coach Neal Brown in the United Bank Playbook, as the Mountaineers return home this Saturday to take on Texas Tech. pic.twitter.com/6sCvssEAVr— West Virginia Football (@WVUfootball) November 6, 2019
Kendall connected with seven different receivers against Baylor. Still, he struggled much of the day against a tough Baylor defense as he completed only 20 of 39 passes for 205 yards along with one touchdown and an interception. Kendall, who has had a couple of tough weeks, has completed 131 of 261 pass attempts for 1,614 yards along with 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Freshman Sam James leads the Mountaineers receiving corps with 44 receptions for 400 yards along with two scores while T.J. Simmons (31 for 409, four TDS) was held without a catch last week. Campbell is a big-play threat with four of his six catches being for touchdowns, including three of at least 20 yards. Running back Kennedy McCoy (71 attempts for 271 yards, three TDS) is only averaging 2.9 yards per carry, but he does also have 21 receptions.
West Virginia is averaging 21.6 points and 3o2.3 yards of offense per game, with 78.9 yards of those yards coming on the ground. Defensively, the Mountaineers have been gouged for 31.4 points as well as 413.5 yards a contest. Their defense is allowing 235.8 yards through the air and 177.8 yards on the ground.
The following trends are courtesy of Covers.com:
- Mountaineers are 2-5-2 ATS in their last 9 games on fieldturf.
- Mountaineers are 2-6-2 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- Mountaineers are 1-3-2 ATS in their last 6 games in November.
- Red Raiders are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games on fieldturf.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This game is a toss-up, mainly because the contest is in Morgantown. That being said, I'm going with Texas Tech because of their potent offense and the fact that I don't think that WVU's offense, which is one of the worst in the nation, will move the ball against the Red Raiders that well.
Duffy has the Red Raiders offense humming. Since taking over the starting signal-caller duties four games ago, Texas Tech has put up 33.2 points and 496.5 yards per game. However, Duffey did struggle against the Mountaineers last year, although I believe that he will avenge that performance as he has an experienced offensive line, which has permitted just 11 sacks all season, protecting him and he has several weapons at his disposal. Plus, with the extra week of preparation, head coach Matt Wells has had a chance of putting some wrinkles into the Raiders' gameplan. Wells' teams have fared well following a bye week of preparation going 7-1 in those situations.
Prediction: Texas Tech -2.5
Full-Game Total Pick
At first glance, the game screams over and by a lot. But closer examination indicates otherwise. I believe Texas Tech's defense will be a major factor. While Texas Tech's defense will be aided by the fact that WVU does not have much of a running game or more than a few playmakers on offense for that matter. The Raiders do have some playmakers on that side of the ball, including Broderick Washington Jr., Jordyn Brooks, and Douglas Coleman. And I believe that Washington Jr. and Brooks will be able to get penetration into the Mountaineers' backfield, and it will likely take a couple of blockers to keep them at bay, therefore opening others to make plays. Brooks leads the Red Raiders with 87 tackles along with 15.5 tackles for losses.
Meanwhile, Coleman leads the nation with seven interceptions; however, he is questionable for the game on Saturday with a foot injury. The Red Raiders' defense has forced a turnover in each of the team's last six games and 14 overall. Similarly, WVU has turned the ball over nine times over their previous four games.
The under has hit in five of the Red Raiders' last seven games in November. The under is also 18-8 in Mountaineers' last 26 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
Prediction: Under 60