Texas Tech Week 5 Preview: Win The 1st Quarter

Texas Tech Week 5

For Texas Tech, week 5 could not have come any sooner. Fans, coaches, players, and anyone associated with the Red Raider program would rather forget the effort on display down in Austin last week. The Texas Tech week 5 draw sends the team to Morgantown to square off with a tough West Virginia squad. The one stat Texas Tech must win is not some advanced analytic number. Coaches always preach games are four quarters long. But this one very well might be over after the first. It is imperative the one thing Texas Tech must do this week is to win the first quarter.

Massive Point Differential

Texas Tech’s slow starts have been a major thorn in the side of this Red Raider team. Prior to conference play, Texas Tech has demonstrated strong resiliency and was able to start the season 3-0. Coming into this season, a 3-0 start was going to be mandatory to get back to the bowl season. But the slow starts finally caught up with them last week against the Longhorns. Down 14-0 early, the defense was on its heels and the offense was digging itself out of a hole that proved to be too big.

In four games this season, Texas Tech has a first quarter point differential of -28. Texas Tech has averaged spotting teams a 7-0 lead every game this season. Conversely, West Virginia has a first quarter point differential of +25. Between the two teams, it’s a margin of 53 points. Texas Tech is going to have to do the one thing they have struggled the most with this year (and West Virginia has made a strength) if they want to get out of Morgantown with a win. So how can they do that?

Three And Outs

The defense that has shown up in the second half needs to be on the field from the opening kickoff. This defense is only surrendering an average of 11 points allowed in the 2nd half of games. But the defense suffered a big-time loss with the announcement that Marquis “Muddy” Waters is going to miss the rest of the season with a pectoral injury. However, this is a defense loaded with experience, particularly at the linebacking corp.

The offensive attack by the Mountaineers also is not nearly as explosive as the Longhorn attack. The Mountaineers are averaging just 121.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks last in the Big 12 in total rushing yards. Mountaineer quarterback Jarret Doege has not elevated the offense to date. Doege has thrown six touchdowns to four interceptions so far this season. Due to Doege’s lack of explosiveness, Garrett Greene has started to make appearances as a change of pace quarterback who is going to hurt the Red Raiders with his legs more than his arm. If the defense is able to force this limited offense to back-to-back three-and-outs to start the game, that type of tone-setting can propel the offense.

Rushing Attack Needs To Lead

Another major injury loss Texas Tech suffered was the loss of Tyler Shough due to a broken collar bone and will be out to at least early November. Quarterback Henry Colombi has been in this position before with the Red Raiders and has shown flashes of great accuracy both last year and in relief this season. But a way to secure a 1st quarter victory would be to lean on the rushing attack. With Tahj Brooks out for possibly a few weeks, the backfield combination of SaRodorick Thompson and Xavier White will have to carry the load.

However, this will be the toughest test to date for this rushing attack. West Virginia’s defense has allowed only one rushing touchdown this season. This is a Mountaineer defensive line that is mighty disruptive; just ask Oklahoma. The battle in the trenches has to be won by the Red Raider’s offensive line. Controlling the ball will only add to the likely hood that Texas Tech will win the first quarter.

Texas Tech Week 5 Prediction

Even if Texas Tech doesn’t flat out win the scoreboard in the first quarter, getting into the second tied would feel like a win. Head Coach Matt Wells knows that this team is back to square one this week and the pressure on him specifically is only going to increase with each mounting loss. West Virginia is still miffed about the near-upset they pulled off against Oklahoma. They likely will come out a little flat-footed the Red Raiders can take advantage of. Texas Tech will be competitive on both sides of the ball. However, the offensive and defensive lines battles will be won more often by West Virginia. That will ultimately be the deciding factor in a close game.

West Virginia 24, Texas Tech 21

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