11 A.M., on the road, Saturday morning has been kind to the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The first showdown was in Houston, TX against the Houston Cougars and showed to be a fruitful one where the entire team played a complete game (sans the two final drives when the game was virtually over). Tech came out to an early lead and never gave it up from start to finish and showed a team from a weaker conference what it’s like playing a real Big 12 opponent. Last week in the same situation, Tech went to Lawrence, KS to play the Kansas Jayhawks. This time, once again the team played a complete game (this time from start to finish), and showed a team from the bottom of the conference what it’s like playing a program that actually cares about football.
This Saturday it’s the same situation, 11 A.M., on the road, morning kickoff, however this time it won’t be against a deficient opponent. West Virginia is a very dangerous team, that has finally bought into the ways of Dana Holgerson. It took a while but this WVU squad has become a carbon copy of the Oklahoma State, Houston, and Texas Tech offense that Holgerson deployed in the 2000s. The passing combo of WIll Grier and David Sills is reminiscent of Holgerson’s OSU combo of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. Sills is right up there with Keke Coutee and OSU’s James Washington for top wide outs in the conference and the country, and can cause all types of problems for Tech’s secondary. When attacking this WVU offense, it will have to be looked at the same way as the defense did against OSU, as the offenses are that similar. Luckily, our defense has shown to be the main ones awake and ready to go when that 11:00 whistle blows.
The biggest question for the Mountaineers will be, which defense can we expect on Saturday? Will Tech get the defense that held TCU to their second lowest output of the season and kept them competitive all game, or will they get the defense that let the Kansas offense have their most productive game of the season? West Virginia has proven to be unpredictable when it comes to their defense, and Tech is going to have to exploit their run defense which is second worst in the conference.
More than anything, the Red Raiders are going to have to prove that they belong. Belong among the top 25, belong among the contenders, belong among the elite. West Virginia is only a stepping stone for this team to get where they need to be. Many times in recent history, we get to this point and then we have a moment where we all go “same ole Tech” as we tumble down. It happened against UT back in 05, happened against Missouri in 07, and happened against OU in ‘13, just when the fan base thinks Tech belongs, the Red Raiders get knocked back down a peg. At the beginning of the season, I marked this game as a game that Tech had zero chance of winning. I also thought that Tech would go 5-7 this season with a loss to Houston, I was wrong about the team then and the team needs to prove me wrong once again, and prove they belong.