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2021 Opponent Preview: A preseason look at the Texas Tech Red Raiders

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The Mountaineers lost via a fourth quarter scoop-and-score by the Red Raiders. Can West Virginia avoid another upset this year in Morgantown?

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Series Record: 6-4, good guys. And in my admittedly biased opinion it shouldn’t be that close. We’ve had the better team in the majority of our matchups since joining the Big 12.

Last Meeting: 27-34. Last year’s meeting in Lubbock was your classic “we outgained them by 100 yards only to lose the game in the margins” game. A quick glance at the 3rd down conversion disparity tells much of the story, with the Red Raiders converting 50% of their opportunities to our 26% (coincidentally our worst output of the season), but it was a 4th quarter scoop-and-score from a Sam James fumble that ultimately put the nail in our coffin.

Opponent Record 2020: 4-6. Tech was on pace for 5 wins in a normal 12-game season last year, which has pretty much been par for their course in the post-Leach era (5.7 wins per season over the last decade). It’s a sad state of affairs to say that beating us was probably the highlight of their season.

2021 Outlook

Tech brings back most of its offensive skill players, including running back Sarodorick Thompson (8 carries for 68 yards and a TD against us last year) and pass catchers Erik Ezukanma (4 catches for 47 yards) and Myles Price (7-79). They also return most of the starters from last year’s offensive line and added transfer TJ Storment from TCU. Unfortunately none of that is going to matter if they can’t find an answer to the giant question mark at quarterback, and with Henri Colombi and Oregon transfer Tyler Shough the frontrunners that’s far from a certainty.

Defensively they’re a transfer-laden bunch, with corner DeMarcus Fields the lone standout who started his career in Lubbock. This is not necessarily a knock in and of itself because they have managed to land a handful of difference makers, but as we well know it can point to a lack of depth that may see one injury to the wrong guy tanking the entire unit. There’s definitely talent in the ranks, but it’s hard to see them as anything more than a middle-of-the-road type of unit in the conference.

Game Outlook

Let’s keep it relatively simple here – we will and should be favored at home, and if Neal Brown wants Mountaineer Nation to continue trusting the climb this is a game that we have to win.