Chain Gang Defense Stifles WVU's Offense

Justin Laney takes a look at how the Red Raider defense stuffed the Mountaineers.

Entering Saturday's meeting between West Virginia and Texas Tech, all the talk was surrounding the Mountaineer offense and Heisman hopeful Geno Smith.

The main question before kickoff was – can this Red Raider offense put enough points on the board to win the game?

Well, that question has been put to bed as the defense stole the show and silenced the critics.

Overall, the defense gave up 275 yards passing and 133 yards rushing totaling up to 408 yards. The yardage seems a bit high but if you look a little closer, the Mountaineers ran 91 plays.

The Tech defense only gave up 4.5 yards per play compared to the Tech offense gaining 9.4 yards per play.

One major key to this defense's success was minimizing the big play by the Mountaineer offense, and the Chain Gang did just that.

Coming in to the game, West Virginia had 35-plus plays go for more than 20 yards and on Saturday the Mountaineers were held to just one.

 "The big thing when you play teams like that is us. When you catch the ball, you have to tackle. Last week we gave up 150 yards after contact, and that was the game," Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said following the victory. "We work on tackling every day. I was really proud of Cody Davis. I think he made 13 tackles. There were several times that he was one-on-one matched up as several of our players were, against the number one open field. Got to get him down. Most of the time they did that. They didn't get a lot of yards after he caught the ball, and it all comes down to tackling"

Arguably the most impressive thing to take away from Saturdays win was the Red Raiders ability to stop the Mountaineers when it mattered.

West Virginia only converted 2-of-7 on fourth down attempts. Comparing that to last week where down in Austin they came away a perfect 5 out of 5 in that category and that ultimately led to their 48-45 victory against the Longhorns.

"Well, it got to the point where they had to go for fourth downs. Little surprised on a couple of them. But that's the way Dana ism," Tuberville said. "Last week he was 5 for 5 against Texas. We told the players defense at halftime, probably won't put a punt return team out there. They're going to go for fourth down. It was four down territory everywhere they had to score points, and we played good on fourth down."

All in all, the Texas Tech defense stood their ground against possibly the best offense they will face all season are going to have to keep it going in Fort Worth next weekend and give TCU that nice "Welcome to the Big 12" feeling that they gave No. 5 West Virginia.


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