THE RESULT | SURPRISING | I never really saw this happening. Not really by a longshot. West Virginia is traditionally too good on offense for this to happen, despite any deficiencies that they have on defense. But West Virginia kept pushing the envelope and kept digger a bigger hole and just could never climb back out of it.
I am going to rain on the parade. This is a pretty good football team. Not great, just pretty good. They were not as bad as they showed last week against Oklahoma and they're not as great as they showed against West Virgina. They are somewhere in between. And that's okay. That's an improvement, it's getting better. And I'd also add that there's a pretty good chance Texas Tech will lose a game that they're supposed to win. It's the nature of this game and the nature of this team. I don't think they are good enough to be consistent from week to week. I'm really enjoying this, but now it's on to TCU and they showed that they were still a pretty good football team and Texas Tech is playing them on the road. Playing on the road is never easy, just ask West Virginia.
OFFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | The obvious choice here is QB Seth Doege, but a ton of what Doege did was yards after catch and I don't know if anyone did a better job than TE Jace Amaro in terms of getting hit and rumbling down the sideline, good for 5 catches for 156 yards and a touchdown. Huge game from the sophomore and showed he is tough. There is not a tougher matchup in the Big 12 than Amaro and if he can get a window, there isn't a Big 12 defender that can cover him.
DEFENSIVE STAR OF THE GAME | CB Eugene Neboh was huge and officially, he had only 2 tackles and 4 pass breakups, but I can't tell you how many times I wrote his number down yesterday (I could, but I don't want to count). It was a lot. And it seemed like every drive, he was making a play on a receiver. Just a huge game, especially when Cornelius Douglas goes down with an injury. Davis is obviously a candidate here, but wanted to spread the love a bit.
SPECIAL TEAMS STAR OF THE GAME | The wind. I really don't know here and I can't say that I paid close enough attention as to who was making plays on special teams in terms of tackles, but when Kramer Fyfe had the wind, it was into the endzone. When he didn't, he did a bad job of squibbing the ball down the field. Go wind!
PRESSING | I never would have thought that Texas Tech would utilize press coverage for a good part of the game. I kept waiting for this to be a problem, but son of a gun, Tre' Porter, Neboh, and Jones all ran with the West Virginia receivers. That's them knowing technique. The interesting thing was that by pressing, West Virginia essentially ignored the middle of the field and the receivers were just vertically going down the field. Try to remember all of the times that WVU went over the middle. Of course it helped that Texas Tech was flooding the middle with linebackers and safeties, but that is largely irrelevant so long as the cornerbacks can keep pace going vertically, which happened with quite a bit of regularit. Of course, it helped seeing Geno Smith just slightly off the entire day. That wasn't the quarterback that I watched play against Baylor or Texas that was able to beat pressure and convert on 3rd and 4th downs at will.
MANY VS. FEW | There was some complaining this week about how Texas Tech didn't just have one receiver that was getting a lot of credit, but had a handful of guys that could get the job done. Of course, with WVU, they have two absolute studs, but there are problems with not being deep at receiver. When Stedman Bailey went down with an injury, there was just one guy to guard, Tavon Austin, and he got his, 9 catches for 99 yards. With Texas Tech, there isn't one guy that's going to be the guy each and every game and there will be games when no one steps up, but I think there will be more games where multiple guys step up their game and make a significant impact. It's a tough cover for an opposing defense. Texas Tech had 11 players catch at least one pass and most likely, this means that Texas Tech will not have any all conference players other than maybe Amaro, but I'm pretty sure that this is the deepest receiving group in the Big 12. Not the best, but there's a lot of quality throughout this group.
SO DOES RUNNING THE BALL MEAN GIVE-UP? | I was bracing myself at the end of the first half. With 0:56 left in the first half starting at their own 33, and Doege throws an incomplete pass to Amaro and then completes a 19 yard pass to IR Jakeem Grant. Then Doege hands the ball off to RB Sadale Foster and my initial thought was that if this doesn't work, then game thread is going to just explode with thoughts that if Texas Tech runs the ball, then they're giving up. I think we need to adjust our thinking. I think the running game is significantly better than I can recall and I think that OC Neal Brown believes in the running game to the extent that he thinks that the running backs can break off a huge play just as easily as the receivers. West Virginia was obviously bracing themselves for a pass play, but when Foster found his way to the sideline and simply outran every defender, I laughed because at this point because I'm weird and me watching a game is affected by what I think is going to be written on VTM, it's comical. Anyway, running the ball does not equal give-up. It's a different philosophy and I do believe that Brown thinks that his running backs are weapons in ways that we're just not used to seeing. This isn't about right or wrong, just different.
IT STARTS UP FRONT | It does start up front on boths sides of the ball and not enough will be written about how Doege was clean almost the entire game. It helped to see him step up in pressure a couple of times and take off and get the first down, but the offensive line played a heck of a game. WVU managed just 1 sack for 7 yards and no quarterback hurries. But make no mistake that it is not a coincidence that Doege had a spectacular game and the offensive line protected him for the most part and also helped pave the way for 168 yards rushing on just 29 carries. Even if you take out Foster's 53 yard run, the team rushed for 4.1 yards per carry, which is just fine.
Defensively, the charge was partially led, again, by DT Kerry Hyder and his 6 tackles, but the stats won't show how good the defense was because it will show that there was only 3 sacks and 1 quarterback pressure. That was not the story. Geno Smith was uncomfortable for most of the game, not necessarily under pressure, but uncomfortable and sometimes that's all it takes. And it wasn't just Hyder, but you saw big games from Dartwan Bush, Delvon Simmons and Jackson Richards all game long. They were in his face a good part of the game and although WVU did rush for over 100 yards, a lot of that was made up when WVU was clearly out of the game.
PEDAL TO THE METAL | So I mentioned above that sometimes we have to adjust our thinking and this is another instance. Neither OC Brown or Tuberville really put the pedal to the metal after the second half. The offense had a series where Kenny Williams turned the ball over on a fumble, Ryan Bustin missed a field goal and then the offense got back on track with a very quick drive, a total of 1:31 and 4 plays for a touchdow to WR Darrin Moore for a 29 yard touchdown. That wasn't the dagger. West Virginia gets the ball at their own 25 and 15 plays and 73 yards later, they turn the ball over on downs on the Texas Tech 2 yard line. That turnover on downs was huge for the defense, but I think we need to re-adjust what pedal to the metal means. This begins the slow water-torture and it involves running the ball and making West Virginia watch as the game slips away because Texas Tech is intent on forcing WVU to call timeouts or watch the game slip through their hands. The drive was 15 plays and 8:22 of time. It involved 7 passes and 8 runs and West Virginia had to simply sit back and watch as RB Eric Stephens, Foster, and Doege led the offense to just two third downs during the entire drive. By the time Texas Tec was done, there was 5:37 left of the clock and no matter how fast WVU can score, they weren't making up that deficit. Sometimes pedal to the metal means scoring more and more as fast as possible. Sometimes it means keeping the ball away from your opponent and they can't do a thing about it.
FITTING IT UP | When Texas Tech beat Iowa St. and lost to Oklahoma, DC Art Kaufman talked about how the defense did a good job of fitting up against Iowa St. and a poor job of fitting up against Oklahoma. If you get the chance, go back and look at this game and when you have a gap-controlled defense, it makes sense. Everyone has a gap, especially in the run game, and when you have a strong safety like Cody Davis that can recognize and fill holes as quickly as he can, it makes it significantly easier on Kaufman to call the game. The linebackers, especially Blake Dees, Terrance Bullitt and Will Smith, they fit things up in the middle of the field and the secondary more than filled in the gaps.
- I've already mentioned Neboh, but felt like I couldn't end this without mentioning how Bruce Jones really stepped up his play and Porter was terrific in the slot. They aren't perfect, but they compete each and every play and that's a huge part of the process.
- Texas Tech was only 5 of 10 on third downs. This tells you that out of 72 plays they were only in third down situations 10 times for 13.88% and out of WVU's 91 plays, they were in third downs situations 21 times for 23%. WVU just couldn't force any third downs.
- Doege had 11.8 yards per attempt this game and this greatly improves on what was statistically a very bad game last week against Oklahoma. He had a couple of bad passes, one that definitely should have been an interception and an interception that was a fluke, but the fluke interception didn't rattle him at all.
- RB Kenny Williams will figure it out and there were times when guys like Baron Batch or Shannon Woods would fumble and they would get yanked and they would figure it out. Williams is too conscious of what he does. It was also interesting to see Tuberville make sure that he talked with Williams after he fumbled. Ball security is huge and Williams knows that, but it's good to see Tuberville get into his ear while his team is up by 28. Williams will be fine.
- It was interesting to see Tuberville implore the crowd to get louder. I don't know if I recall him doing that before, but I think he knows how important the crowd is to the game. He also knows he hasn't given the crowd much to cheer about over the past year and said that during his presser yesterday.