Prediction: Texas Tech 34 – West Virginia 24
When breaking down this game, it is clear that Texas Tech has numerous advantages. First of all, the Tech offensive skill players are miles ahead of West Virginia’s.
Tech has 16 plays of 20 or more yards this year, good for 51st nationally. WVU has only 8. That’s 113th nationally. In other words, Tech should have a greater margin for error in this game and that’s always a huge advantage.
Another advantage is at the QB spot. If Shough plays up to his ability and protects the football, he is in a different class than either WVU QB that we might see today. Having a decided edge at the most important position on the field is a great way to win on the road.
Now, Shough will have to go out and actually make that perceived advantage become a reality. He was supposed to be better than Wyoming’s Andrew Peasley but the gritty Cowboy QB outplayed Shough in week one and that spelled doom for the Red Raiders. Shough can’t let that happen again today.
Tech’s defense is also better than WVU’s. The secondary is perhaps the strength of Tech’s defense and today, it will welcome back starting safety Tyler Owens who missed the Tarleton game.
Meanwhile, WVU has a secondary that was torched by Penn State and which has remained a puzzle that the coaching staff has yet to solve. That’s not a great place to be in when trying to stop the Red Raiders, even in a year when the Tech passing offense has been merely adequate at best.
The only place where WVU should have a perceived advantage is along the offensive line. The veteran Mountaineer line is good while the rebuilt Tech O-line is a liability at times.
However, Tech’s defensive line is also solid, especially in the middle where Jaylon Hutchings and Tony Bradford form one of the best defensive tackle duos in the Big 12. Therefore, WVU’s biggest strength could be neutralized this afternoon.
Ultimately, I don’t expect WVU to have enough playmakers to keep pace with Tech, especially if backup QB Nicco Marchiol is the man who has to lead the Mountaineer attack. This won’t be a game that Tech wins in a blowout but it will wind up being a 10-point win giving Red Raider fans something to feel good about for the first time in 2023.