Texas Tech at West Virginia
Saturday, 9 am PT - ESPNU
CRIS Opener: West Virginia -6 O/U 80
CRIS Current: West Virginia -3.5 O/U 72
West Virginia's offense has had no trouble moving the football this season. Yes, they benefitted from a three-game swatch of East Carolina, Delaware State, and Kansas but they also faced Virginia Tech and TCU away from home. Against the Hokies, WVU rolled up 592 yards and topped the 500-yard mark against the Horned Frogs as well. The Mountaineers ran into some difficulty in the red zone which resulted in only 48 points combined in both contests but the yardage was actually conducive to around 75 points.
Through five games, Texas Tech's defense has actually been somewhat of a strength as it has allowed a modest 5.5 yards per play. But those numbers are buoyed by games against FCS Eastern Washington, Houston, and Kansas. Arizona State hung 45 on the Red Raiders and Oklahoma State just missed the 600-yard mark in its 41-34 win. West Virginia is also the most balanced team Tech has faced and the only squad to rank inside the top 50 in rushing (29th, 213.2 ypg). TTU's defense has also benefited from 13 takeaways; one shy of last year's entire output.
The other factor to consider is tempo, particularly that of West Virginia. We know Texas Tech likes to play at a fast clip but the Mountaineers have really sped up the pace this season with 84 plays per game vs. FBS foes. That's nearly a 10 play per game increase over last season.
Last season's meeting closed 82 as West Virginia won 48-17 in Lubbock. Here we see a total as low as 72 yet West Virginia's is playing faster, looks just as good if not better on offense, and has taken a step back defensively. Texas Tech remains one of the nation's best offenses but seems to be getting a bit more credit that it deserves defensively after a small subset of games. Play this one over the total.