TTU vs. WVU – Keys to the Game
After limping their way out of the non-conference slate, the Red Raiders travel to West Virginia to open up Big 12 play. While neither team is currently expected to win the conference, both teams could really use a win here in this game. Tech fell into an early 0-2 hole out of the gate and the Mountaineers coach may have the hottest seat in the country. I’m expecting a good battle on both sides of the ball, but I do think the Red Raiders have the edge at most spots if they’re able to exploit them. Here are my keys to the game in order for Tech to rise to a .500 record.
Test the WVU secondary early and often
I think it is very easy to tell that the weakest spot for WVU is their secondary. We’ve got numerous wideouts that stand 6’3 plus and can easily take advantage of some lackluster coverage on the back end. A few points to go along with this: do we actually throw the ball downfield consistently? Can Shough stay in the pocket long enough to give his receivers time to get open downfield? The opportunity is definitely there, it will just up the offense to go out and actually exploit it.
Limit WVU’s rushing attack
It’s no secret that the Mountaineers rely on the ground game to move the ball. Both starting members of their backfield, Greene and Donaldson, can burn us with their legs. They do not have a bunch of proven talent on the outside through the air, and Greene will be a game-time decision due to an injury. I would be stacking the box and forcing them to beat you over the top, in a match-up where I actually think our secondary is favored over their receiving core.
Win the turnover battle
This may end up being the most important key for the Red Raiders today. It’s no secret that turnovers were a large part of the reason for our two losses thus far. Between turning the ball over and not getting any turnovers in return, the Red Raiders have let this be an Achilles heel. The Tech defense needs to apply some pressure early to get the WVU offense rattled, and Shough has to be smarter with the ball.