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Texas Tech hosts West Virginia in a clash of ranked teams

The Red Raiders will try to inflict the Mountaineers the first loss of the season

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Oklahoma State Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

After both teams won their opening conference games, Texas Tech, and West Virginia cross their roads in an important matchup that will send one of the two opponents to a 2-0 record in the Big 12.

The Red Raiders unexpectedly hold a 3-1 record after two brilliant victories against Houston and Oklahoma State. This week, they have been rewarded with a spot in the AP Top 25 (position no. 25), and this is only the second time it happens since 2014.

On the other side, the Mountaineers started their season at no. 17, and with three impressive victories over Tennessee, Youngstown State, and Kansas State they climbed to no. 12. The game against North Carolina State was canceled due to Hurricane Florence.

NCAA Football: Kansas State at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

This will be the eighth game between these two teams, and West Virginia has a clear lead in the series, as it won five out of seven games. The first meeting took place on January 1st, 1938, in the Sun Bowl, and the Mountaineers took a victory, 7-6.

Since then, these two schools didn’t meet until 2012, when West Virginia moved from the Big East to the Big 12. Texas Tech won the first two games, but the university located in Morgantown now has an open 4-game winning streak.

The biggest Red Raiders victory came in 2012, 49-14, while the Mountaineers fired back in 2016, 48-17.

This will be the first meeting with both teams in the rankings.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Oklahoma State Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

After four weeks of college football, West Virginia leads the nation in terms of points allowed per game, 12.3, alongside with Utah. It’s also in the third position in TFLs/game with 10.33. Team leaders in this last statistic are linebackers David Long Jr. with 5.5, and Dylan Tonkery with 4.0.

It follows that this will be a tough matchup for the Red Raiders offense, that’s currently fifth in the nation in points scored with 52.0, and only averages one sack allowed per game. Their quarterback, Alan Bowman, is second in the country in passing yards with 1557, but he leads the FBS in passing yards/game with 389.3.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

On the other side of the ball, Texas Tech defense didn’t perform well in the games against Ole Miss, and Houston, but showed many improvements in Stillwater, as it only allowed 17 points and shut down the Cowboys for the entire second half.

After this premise, the Red Raiders are 106th in yards/game with 437.3 but found some consistency in tackles for loss (7.5 per game). In addition, the team averages 36 minutes of possession per game, fifth in the nation.

They will face a dangerous offense that averages 42.3 points/game (21st in the country) and is led by senior quarterback Will Grier, who started his season with impressive numbers. He’s third in the FBS in completion percentage (74.3 %), and yards/game (372.3), second in yards/attempt (11.8), and rating (215.82). The weakness could be the running game, as it stands in 74th position in FBS with 171.67 yards/game.

NCAA Football: Lamar at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

According to Vegas, West Virginia opened the week as a 6-point favorite, but in the following days the line dropped to 3.5. The game will take place at 11 a.m. CT, and will be aired by ESPN 2.