West Virginia versus Texas Tech.
Tuberville's squad is ranked in the Top 25 of every significant defensive category.
Just saying the words aloud makes Nick Saban cringe.
When considering a game between these two teams, ridiculous offensive numbers spring to mind. Could the teams combine for 1,000 yards? 100 points? Will it approach the 70-63 track meet between West Virginia and Baylor?
There’s only one problem with that line of thought: Texas Tech has a defense – or so say the statistics.
This ain’t your slightly older brother’s Texas Tech team from, well, last season, where the Red Raiders gave up an average of 51.2 points over their final five games, all losses. No. Through five contests, this year’s Texas Tech squad ranks as one of the best in Pass Defense (1st in the nation), Pass Efficiency Defense (7th), Rushing Defense (12th), Scoring Defense (22nd) and Total Defense (2nd).
Naturally, people will point to the fact that of the first four teams Tommy Tuberville’s team has faced, none of them currently rank higher than 85th in total offense.
West Virginia’s Heisman front runner, Geno Smith, isn’t buying it, though.
“They have a really good defense,” said the Mountaineer quarterback. “They do a great job on making it tough on quarterbacks. They get a lot of interceptions and turnovers. They really make things complex with the way they react to the ball.”
Head Coach Dana Holgorsen agrees.
“They play hard, sound defense,” he said. “They’re not used to giving up many points and yards.”
The Red Raiders are pretty straight forward with their approach on defense, which Holgorsen says can create some problems for his offense.
“They’re not very tricky. They’re very, very sound and are never out of position,” said Holgorsen. “They play hard and their guys are in position. That poses problems when you don’t know what they’re going to do and that aggravates you from a game-plan standpoint. We can come up with a bunch of plays, but it’s hard to execute against them.”
Last week, when Tuberville and company finally faced an opponent with a potent offense, Oklahoma scored 41 points in three quarters and cruised to victory. That doesn’t make Geno approach the game any differently, though.
“Every game has its own story, and I expect them to be tough.”
The game will be broadcast at 3:30pm ET on ESPN, ABC or ESPN Gameplan. To see what channel it will be on in your area, CLICK HERE for the coverage maps.