October 20, 2017

Breaking down Texas Tech vs. West Virginia

13 October 2017, 11:30 | Hattie Nash

Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek fires a pass against Kansas. Can West Virginia again slow the Texas Tech offense

Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek fires a pass against Kansas. Can West Virginia again slow the Texas Tech offense

Texas Tech is in The Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time since 2013 and wants to stay there.

Key players: Texas Tech - QB Nic Shimonek, RB Justin Stockton, LB Dakota Allen; West Virginia - QB Will Grier, RB Justin Crawford, WR Ka'Raun White.

FILE - In this October 7, 2017, file photo, Texas Tech running back Desmond Nisby (32) runs for a 47-yard touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kansas, in Lawrence, Kan.

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Before the season kicked off, Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury's seat was arguably as hot as any coach in the country.

Allen, a junior from Humble, Texas, has recorded at least 4 tackles in every game played this season - including a season-high 12 total tackles against Houston on September 23. If Shimonek can go for over 300 yards with no turnovers, expect a road win for the Red Raiders. The Red Raiders' advantage is slimmer than expected. Here we see a total as low as 72 yet West Virginia's is playing faster, looks just as good if not better on offense, and has taken a step back defensively. In those losses, Texas Tech's normally prolific offense has been limited to 34, 26 and 17 points. In fact, last week was only the second time since 2000 that Texas Tech ended a game with more rushing yards than passing yards. Now it's up to Grier, who is averaging almost 350 passing yards per game, to put this WVU offense in a position to keep pace and light up the Tech secondary, while avoiding the game-changing interception and turnovers that have helped the Red Raiders get off to their 4-1 start.

"They've had our number, and we've got to go up there and try to execute at a high level", Kingsbury said. "I just show up and coach football, so I don't have much to say on that", he said. Spavital, the former offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, has West Virginia at fifth in the Big 12 in scoring offense, third in total offense, second in rushing offense and fourth in passing offense. The Mountaineers, coming off a loss at No. 6 TCU, have lost nine straight times to ranked opponents.

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Suddenly, Texas Tech has gone from an Air Raid team to a ground-and-pound offense. The school's more than 36,000 students were ordered to shelter in place during the search for the suspect.

COACHING PALS: Kingsbury was the Red Raiders' quarterback under Mike Leach from 1999-02 and credits Holgorsen for getting him into coaching. West Virginia botched a punt return that led to a TCU short drive for a touchdown last week. The Mountaineers also missed a short field goal. Kingsbury joined Holgorsen as an offensive quality control assistant and then was promoted to quarterbacks coach two years later when Holgorsen left for the same position at Oklahoma State.

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