Texas Tech football: Red Raider fans need to know about these Mountaineers

Texas Tech football: Red Raider fans need to know about these Mountaineers
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Oct 22, 2022; Lubbock, Texas, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Neal Brown in the second half during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium and Cody Campbell Field. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a rather streaky series between Texas Tech and West Virginia on the gridiron.  With each program owning six wins over the other, one will take the upper hand Saturday in Morgantown in a series that began in 1938 but didn’t resume until 2012 when the Mountaineers joined the Big 12.

As conference rivals, Tech won the first two meetings with WVU.  The first of those was the famous 49-14 beating the Red Raiders put on the Mountaineers in Lubbock when WVU was ranked No. 5 in the nation. The next year, Kliff Kingsbury led his team to an impressive 37-27 win in Morgantown.  It was Kingsbury’s first season as head coach and Tech’s first trip to West Virginia.

However, the tide quickly changed in this series as from 2014-2018, WVU would score five consecutive wins under former head coach Dana Holgorsen, a Mike Leach disciple who spent time on Leach’s staff in Lubbock in the 2000s.

In that run, the first two games were decided by five points or less but the final three saw WVU win by eight points or more including two-score wins in 2016 and 2017.  That was a run during which the Mountaineers climbed up the ranks of the Big 12 while Tech slid into irrelevance as the two teams swapped places in the conference hierarchy.

However, 2019 saw Holgorsen leave West Virginia for Houston and Tech replace Kingsbury with Matt Wells.  Though Wells was a massive failure in Lubbock, one of the few things he managed to do well was to beat the Mountaineers picking up wins in all three of his games against them.

Last season, Joey McGuire picked up a win in the series via a 48-10 drubbing at Jones Stadium.  That means that WVU head coach, Neal Brown, himself a former Texas Tech offensive coordinator under Tommy Tuberville, has never beaten the Red Raiders.

“It was a very poor performance down in Lubbock; they’ve got a better team this year, in my opinion, and we’ve got to be ready,” Brown said earlier this week.

“Texas Tech has had our number. They’ve beaten us four times in a row, and they’ve beaten us the last two times at Mountaineer Field.  This is the first opportunity for this team in Big 12 Conference play to prove the so-called experts wrong.

“We were picked 14th in the league, and this is our first Big 12 game so let’s see what we’ve got.”

There was a time when West Virginia’s success was built on the backs of superstar players.  That included QBs like Gino Smith and Will Grier, wide receivers such as Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, and defensive linemen like Darius and Dante Stills.

However, under Brown’s watch, the Mountaineer roster has suffered, especially when it comes to offensive playmakers, which is ironic given Brown’s pedigree as an offensive mind.  Thus, most Texas Tech fans aren’t likely to know any Mountaineers by name.  Therefore, let’s dig into the WVU program and take a look at some key players that Red Raiders should know ahead of Saturday’s conference opener.

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