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WVU pits top defense vs. Texas Tech

MORGANTOWN (AP) — Texas Tech might be able to pick up a few pointers from West Virginia’s game films on slowing down offenses in the Big 12.

The Red Raiders (0-3, 0-2 Big 12) will need more than a few stops as they try to exit the league basement today when they host the Mountaineers (3-1, 2-1).

West Virginia’s defense ranks first for the fewest yards allowed among the 77 Bowl Subdivision teams that have played games. The Red Raiders? They’re fifth from the bottom at 499 yards per contest.

Texas Tech is coming off a bye week after losing 31-15 at No. 17 Iowa State. The Red Raiders have allowed at least 30 points in every game.

Coach Matt Wells said improvement starts with nailing the basics first.

“Get lined up, get in a stance, get set and let’s go play football. Run to the football,” Wells said. “There were times that we struggled at Iowa State getting lined up and that can’t be who we are. We need to put a better product on the field.”

Turning to West Virginia’s defense, Wells rattled off more than a half-dozen players.

“So everything I just talked about right there, about every one of those guys, is their effort, their intensity,” Wells said. “Kind of what I was saying about our defense. That’s what we’re trying to get back to.”

The Mountaineers have surrendered nine total TDs and a national-best 240 yards per contest. It starts up front with a unit that is averaging four sacks and 9.3 tackles for loss. West Virginia has six interceptions, tied with No. 20 Kansas State for the most in the Big 12.

The standouts among a group of solid players on defense have included lineman Darius Stills, linebacker Tony Fields and Tykee Smith, a sophomore who plays a hybrid outside linebacker-defensive back position.

“That’s one guy at each level of your defense that is playing at a really high level right now,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said.

A few other things to know about Texas Tech and West Virginia:

GOING HOME

In 2012, Jarret Doege was among the thousands of Texas Tech fans who stormed the field in Lubbock, Texas, after the Red Raiders beat then-No. 5 West Virginia behind his brother, quarterback Seth Doege. Neal Brown was Texas Tech’s offensive coordinator then.

Now Jarret Doege will return home to west Texas to lead the Mountaineers as their starting quarterback. He’s 5-2 as a starter since transferring to West Virginia from Bowling Green.

“I’m excited to go home and play in front of my friends and family,” Doege said.

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