Texas Tech looks to solidify their post season by earning that sixth win and making them bowl eligible. Bringing with them one of the more explosive offenses in the nation, head coach Kilff Kingsbury and the Red Raiders have everything moving in the right direction.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, West Virginia limps into November after going through the toughest October in the history of the program. The Mountaineers went 0-for-October, losing to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and TCU, each of whom is among the top 15 teams in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.
The Mountaineers are favored at home for the fifth time this season but it will be a tall task to slow down Patrick Mahomes and the Texas Tech offense. Will the Mountaineers be able to keep up?
Texas Tech at West Virginia
Kickoff: 12 p.m. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: FS1
Spread: West Virginia -8.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Mountaineers' Secondary
Coming into the season the West Virginia secondary was being touted as one of the best in the nation. Unfortunately its has not lived up to that title, especially in October. With mounting injuries West Virginia has its work cut out for them against the explosiveness of Texas Tech.
Red Raiders' quarterback Patrick Mahomes is averaging 406.4 yards per game and that is against legitimate competition. Texas Tech put up 500 yards against Baylor and 480 against Oklahoma State. With the Mountaineers struggling against the pass this season Texas Tech may be able to score often with their fast paced attack.
2. Which defense will step up?
Both West Virginia and Texas Tech have lost four games this season. What is interesting is those four losses have been to the same teams; Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.
While Texas Tech’s offense has fared better than the Mountaineers in those games the same can not be said for its defense. In its four losses this season Texas Tech has given up an average of 62.75 ppg. The Mountaineers have given up an average of 44.75 ppg in those same losses.
There is no doubt that Texas Tech has a more dangerous offense than West Virginia, but West Virginia has the better defense.
3. Can West Virginia developed a balanced attack?
Texas Tech has always been a pass-first offense. While DeAndre Washington is averaging just over 100 yards rushing, the danger comes from the arm of Mahomes.
West Virginia, on the other hand, has a workhorse in the backfield of Wendell Smallwood. If the Mountaineers' offensive line can give Smallwood lanes, that should in turn open up the passing game for Skyler Howard. The necessity for the Mountaineers to establish a balanced attack is imperative. Keeping the Red Raiders offense off the field will go a long way toward a win for the Mountaineers.
Texas Tech has not fared well against legitimate offenses this season. While the Mountaineers have struggled offensively in the last four games they have also shown if you give them a little they will take advantage.
The Mountaineers will be able to establish a balanced offense keeping the Red Raiders off the field. West Virginia will get back on track in this must win game.
Prediction: West Virginia 38, Texas Tech 34
— Written by Jeremy Simon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and editor-in-chief of BlueGoldSports.com, a must visit for any and all West Virginia Mountaineer fans. Follow BlueGoldSports.com on Twitter @Blue_GoldSports.