Nuts and Bolts: West Virginia

Joe Yeager breaks down the Red Raiders victory against the Mountaineers.



The Amazing Transformation: The selection committee for the Broyles Award, which goes to college football's top assistant coach, should just present it to Art Kaufman right now. Heck, rename the award after Kaufman. After what he has done with what was arguably the worst defense in school history, it is only fitting.


Forget the fact that West Virginia tallied 408 total yards. That number is entirely misleading. The reality is that Texas Tech's defense utterly dominated the nation's top offense, former Heisman frontrunner Geno Smith, and probable Biletnikoff Award winner Tavon Austin. And they did it without ace cornerback Cornelius Douglas.


This West Virginia offense would have annihilated the 2011 Red Raider defense just like Oklahoma State did. Instead, Tech's defense destroyed the Mountaineer offense. Remarkable. Absolutely remarkable.


Crazy Numbers: The Red Raiders didn't record a single sack, lost the turnover battle 0-2, and were penalized three times more than the opposition, yet still defeated the nation's No. 5 team by five touchdowns. Bizarre facts such as this are one reason why college football is so doggone interesting.


Another Crazy Number: Texas Tech had 438 yards of offense…in the first half. If the Red Raiders hadn't run the ball so much and milked the clock in the second half, they probably would have pushed the 900-yard mark in total yardage.


The Nebohnator: I've said it before and now I'm saying it again more forcefully: Eugene Neboh is far and away the most underrated player on Texas Tech's roster. Heck, he's beginning to build a case for Defensive MVP consideration.


The former walk-on from Midland had tough duty against West Virginia's dangerous wide receivers. He was often placed in press coverage and was forced to contend with a barrage of flies and fades. Yet he was never beaten severely and came away with four pass breakups. It's high time Neboh begins getting some credit.


Tubby Love: In the postgame press conference Tommy Tuberville just couldn't say enough great things about Neal Brown's gameplan and the game he called, particularly in the first half. This is significant because the two coaches don't always see eye to eye.


Still, Tuberville was right. Brown had a career night. The delayed power play SaDale Foster took to the house in the second quarter was a brilliant call. Tech hadn't run the ball much at all in the first half and a running play up the middle was the last thing West Virginia expected on first-and-10 from the Tech 47 with 35 seconds left to play in the first half. The Mountaineers were caught totally flatfooted and Foster made them pay.


No Fear: Talk all you want about good tackling, talk about great coverage and praise the defensive scheme to the heavens, but the key to Tech's defensive success was their fearless play.


Facing an offense as deadly as West Virginia's, it is easy to play scared. A defense can be so worried about giving up the explosive play, that it becomes timid and hesitant. The Red Raiders, however, didn't bow before the Mountaineers at all. They took the fight to them, they rolled the dice some with their coverage's, and they made it stick.


Hammering the DBs: Red Raider receivers had a great game catching the football, but perhaps even more impressive was their blocking. Downfield blocking sprung some plays and extended others. And it made the bubble screen, hitherto a pretty anemic play for Tech, flat out go. Tyson Williams, Eric Ward and Alex Torres in particular, blocked their tails off all game long.


Speed: There's been quite a bit of talk about how much faster Tech's defense is than it was last season. But there's much more speed on offense too. Specifically, how about SaDale Foster? Nobody had been calling him a speed demon, but on his long touchdown run he simply outran the entire West Virginia defense once he got to the second level. We haven't seen speed like that in the Tech backfield since the days of Byron Hanspard.


My Girl: The playing of The Temptations' "My Girl" between the third and fourth quarters should become a Texas Tech football tradition. The song brings beauty and happiness to a venue where it is sometimes lacking. And the crowd absolutely loved it. Hats off to whoever selected that tune. It was perfect.   




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