After a tough road loss against TCU, the West Virginia Mountaineers (3-2) will return home on Saturday to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders who have slide under the radar and are off to a 4-1 start including 1-1 in Big 12 play.
Lead by potential Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Will Grier, and the Big 12’s leading rusher, Justin Crawford, the Mountaineers once again have one of the most high-powered offenses in the country. Grier has come in and taken control of this offense and is quietly putting up Heisman-type numbers, as he is averaging 348 passing yards per game which is ranked third in the Big 12. The majority of his passes go to David Sills, who has caught 9 touchdowns which is ranked first in all of college football, and Gary Jennings, who has caught 518 yards which is ranked 18th in the country. The reason the passing game has flourished this season is not just because of the emergence of Grier, but also because of the group of running backs they have running the ball. Lead by senior Justin Crawford and sophomore Kennedy McKoy, the Mountaineers have rushed for 1066 yards as a team so far.
The Mountaineer defense is where the team has had its struggles. They rank 8th in total defense in the Big 12 due to them allowing 442 yards per game. Unlike the past few seasons, they are playing better against the pass and poorly defending the run. They rank second in the Big 12 and are only allowing 227.2 yards in the air, but rank 9th in the Big 12 and are allowing 214.8 yards on the ground. Lead by standouts senior Al-Rasheed Benton, red-shirt junior Dravon Askew-Henry, and senior Kyzir White, the Mountaineers hope to make adjustments and give their offense more time on the field.
As the high scoring Red Raiders come to Morgantown, the West Virginia defense will face another challenge. Lead by quarterback Nic Shimonek and running back Justin Stockton, the Red Raiders will attempt to ruin WVU’s homecoming.