October 10, 2012
By Adam Rosen
1. LIMIT CHUNKS OF YARDAGE
This is my nomination for the 'easier said than done' stat of year.
The Red Raiders can slow down West Virginia's offense if they avoid giving up plays that gain 20 yards or more.
West Virginia has recorded a play of 20 yards or more in 29 of their 33 touchdown drives with quarterback Geno Smith at the helm.
Only one of their five drives that resulted in a field goal attempt this season has had a play of 20 yards or more.
And finally, in all 13 occasions where West Virginia was forced to punt this season, the Mountaineers did not have a single play in any of those drives that gained 20 or more yards.
To sum it up, in the 30 drives where Dana Holgorsen's offense has busted open at least one play of 20 plus yards, the Mountaineers have put up 206 points on the season.
The 21 drives where West Virginia has failed to execute a play for a long gain, they've only netted 27 total points this season on those occasions.
It feels like an obvious stat, but there is a massive difference in the outcomes of drives where the Mountaineer offense can bite off a huge chunk of yardage.
I don't have a clear cut answer on how to slow the explosive Mountaineer offense down, luckily that's Art Kaufman's department. However, if the Tech defense can eliminate a few of these types of plays, then Neal Brown's offense should have an easier time keeping pace.
2. AVOID A HIGH SCORING AFFAIR
Shout out to my man Chris Level for tweeting this eye-popping stat earlier this week. I'm sure you've all seen it by now.
As a program, West Virginia is 172-0 when they score 40 or more points in a game.
On the flip side, Texas Tech is 6-81 in their program's history when their opponent scores 40 or more points in a game.
A lot of those games were during the pre-spread era in college football where scoring 40 points represented a number that was almost impossible to overcome (similar to scoring 70 points in today's game).
Oddly enough, when I modernized the stat to fit into the current coaching regimes at both Tech and West Virginia, the trend remained par for the course.
Under Tuberville, the Red Raiders are 0-10 when their opponent scores 40 or more points in a game.
Under Holgorsen, the Mountaineers are 9-0 when they score 40 or more points on their opponent in a game.
I think the theme is quite obvious regarding the Mountaineer point total for this game. Oddly enough, the current over/under point total for the West Virginia in this game is 40 at most notable sports books.
3. SINK THAT BUIE
Above, I mentioned the explosive type plays and how they have helped the Mountaineers offense move the ball this season.
Last week, on the road against Texas, Andrew Buie was the key cog that made the West Virginia offense effective against the Horns.
The running back, who had 34 touches, both rushing and catching the ball out of the backfield, accounted for 273 yards of the 460 total yards on offense against Texas.
Buie was a constant culprit in making life miserable to the Texas defense, busting through for huge gains. However, most of his yardage came from only 26.5 percent of his touches.
Nine of Buie's big play touches accounted for 195 of his total yardage, or nearly 22 yards a pop, while the other 25 touches produced a mere 78 yards of total offense.
In what figures to be a pick your poison type of day on defense this upcoming Saturday, I think if would be advantageous for Tech's defense to focus on shutting down a position they've dominated most of the season — running back.