West Virginia vs. Texas Tech: Postgame Grades from WVU Loss to the Red Raiders
The Red Raiders scored at will while the vaunted WVU offense couldn't do much of anything, as Texas Tech pulled off the convincing upset 49-14.
TTU finds it self back in the race for the Big 12 Conference title, while WVU will go back to the drawing board and look forward to an uphill climb for the same goal of conference supremacy.
Comment below with your thoughts on the game and where West Virginia should go from here.
Geno Smith: D
Today we learned that Geno Smith is, in fact, human. He did not undergo surgery turning him into a cyborg over the offseason.
Now that that is out of the way, he and his offense will have to go back to the drawing board, as the previously unstoppable Mountaineers were stopped dead in their tracks.
The wind, though it may have been whipping, is a pretty lame excuse. Seth Doege threw for five touchdowns and nearly 500 yards in the same wind.
In reality, the Red Raider defense confused Smith all day and WVU couldn't generate anything offensively.
It was by far Smith’s worst performance of the year, as he ended 29-of-55 for 275 yards and one touchdown. Coming in, he had 38 incompletions, 24 touchdowns and a 399 yard per game average. The only positive: still no interceptions.
He may still be the Heisman favorite, but another performance like this will change that in a hurry.
Running Backs: C
The running game was not terrible for WVU, but it was not great either. Buie ran 21 times for 71 yards and had a few nice first-down runs, but couldn’t find any consistency.
Garrison had his best game of the season, running nine times for 42 yards and his first touchdown this year, as he is looking more and more healthy each week.
Ryan Clarke also had his first two carries under Dana Holgorsen, totaling 12 yards.
As a team WVU averaged a modest 3.7 yards per carry.
It was definitely not a great performance, but this loss can’t be pinned on the running backs.
On a day when quarterback Geno Smith struggled with strong winds, the WVU receivers did not help him out too much.
As a group, the WVU pass catchers were not great at actually catching passes.
There were numerous drops all around and Smith and his receivers can both share fault for that.
Additionally, Smith forced a lot more throws than usual because his receivers just struggled to find open space.
It was the first game in which WVU did not have a 100-yard receiver, as Tavon Austin led the way with nine receptions and 99 yards.
J.D. Woods was second with seven receptions for 79 yards, followed by Stedman Bailey with 6 catches, 56 yards and a touchdown.
On a positive note, Travares Copeland recorded his first career reception, while Jordan Thompson hauled in a career-long 15 yard catch.
However, on a very negative note, Stedman Bailey exited the game in the second half with an apparent ankle injury and never returned.
Offensive Line: C
Overall, the blocking from West Virginia was just mediocre. As I wrote earlier, the Mountaineers averaged just 3.7 yards per carry, which could be worse, but could be much better.
Smith wasn't sacked a single time, which is great, but he was hurried numerous times.
It is ridiculous to expect the offensive line to be perfect in pass blocking though, so overall the pass protection was decent, especially in comparison to last week.
However, WVU was flagged for holding and false start penalties which is one thing the offensive line must avoid.
The rush blocking wasn't a glaring weakness and neither was the pass blocking, but it wasn't a clear strength either.
If the running game had more room to work, it could have taken some pressure off the Smith and the WVU passing game, but that just did not happen.
Defensive Line: B
All things considered, the WVU defensive line preformed pretty well.
Starting defensive end Will Clarke was out of the game and WVU was still solid up front in his absence.
Jorge Wright came up with the game's lone sack with some help of fellow defensive lineman Shaq Rowell. On the same drive, freshman Eric Kinsey also came up with a pass deflection that forced a punt from Texas Tech.
However, Texas Tech did average 5.8 yards per carry as the penetration against the run wasn't great.
The Red Raiders netted 168 on the ground. Much of this, however, was due to a 53-yard run by SaDale Foster.
All in all, it was the pass, not the run that gave WVU nightmares. Sound familiar?
Today was the worst performance of the year for the usually strong WVU linebacking corps.
The Mountaineers failed to contain the running of Seth Doege, who totaled 28 yards and a few big first down conversions early in the game on the ground.
None of the starting WVU linebackers totaled more than four tackles, as not much tackling was going on in general on the West Virginia defense.
Texas Tech's leading receiver was a tight end who WVU just couldn't seem to tackle or account for at all. Jace Amaro ended up with five receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown.
It was a nightmare game for the West Virginia defense which started with a poor performance from linebacking unit.
You see that motorcycle leading Texas Tech out of the tunnel?
Well, it looked like the Red Raider offense was riding one of those all over the WVU defense on Saturday afternoon.
Texas Tech had nine receivers with a reception for more than 15 yards and four different receivers with a touchdown.
It didn't matter who was out there for TTU, Doege hit them and they ran. I think Tommy Tuberville actually caught one himself and juked out a member of the WVU secondary, even though it didn't show up in the box score.
Maybe I imagined that, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were true.
There were a couple of positive points. Pat Miller had a couple of nice pass deflections, Ricky Rumph had his first career fumble recovery and Karl Joseph had an interception.
Despite all that, the negatives heavily outweighed the positives, as Doege went 32-of-42 for 499 yards and six touchdowns.
Special Teams: A+
The special teams unit is not at all at fault for this embarrassing loss.
Tyler Bitancurt, didn't have an opportunity to kick a field goal, but he actually did a nice job punting, which is a welcome change from what WVU has experienced in that category so far this year.
Tavon Austin did muff one punt, but he recovered it. He also had a 47-yard kickoff return at the end of the second half. However, the offense surprisingly couldn't convert it into any points.
Pretty much every other kick either was a touchback or a squib.
In the end, the special teams unit did nothing to contribute to the unfortunate outcome. So bravo, special teams, bravo.
Texas Tech was one step ahead of WVU on both sides of the ball all game long.
Usually opposing defenses struggle keep up with what the Mountaineers are doing with the ball, and this game was just the opposite.
Some people are already calling for the head of defensive coordinator Joe DeForest, but it is much too early for that.
For both sides, its back to the drawing board.
WVU was clearly not properly prepared for this game, and it showed.