West Virginia-Texas Tech Preview

With Heisman Trophy candidate Geno Smith leading the way,

undefeated West Virginia is in the midst of its best start in six


Andrew Buie’s sudden emergence could make things all the more

difficult on opposing defenses that are already struggling to

contain the Mountaineers’ high-powered offense.

Smith and the fifth-ranked Mountaineers look to keep rolling

Saturday when they visit a Texas Tech team hoping to bounce back

from its first loss of the season.

After going 45 of 51 for 656 yards and eight touchdowns in a

70-63 win over then-No. 25 Baylor on Sept. 29, Smith threw for 268

yards and four scores in a 48-45 victory at then-No. 11 Texas last


That result gave West Virginia (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) its best start

since opening 7-0 in 2006.

“Every week, we’re going to go out and have fun,” said Smith,

who’s thrown 24 TD passes without an interception and leads the

nation with a 202.4 rating.

Smith got some unexpected help last week as Buie ran 31 times

for 207 yards and two touchdowns, bringing balance to the offense

and allowing Smith to establish season lows for passing yards and


Buie, a sophomore, had not rushed for more than 82 yards in his

first 12 career games.

“Defenses are going to adjust, so if you run the ball that helps

out the passing game,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson told

the school’s official website. “We made an emphasis to run the

ball, but it’s not an emphasis that we don’t make any week. If we

see a team that is going to play with a weak box then we’ve got to

run the football.

“You can’t let people play two-high coverage on you and sit

there and keep throwing into it.”

The Mountaineers are averaging 570.8 yards and 52.0 points to

rank third and fifth, respectively, in the country and figure to

give Texas Tech (4-1, 1-1) all it can handle.

“There are going to be points scored. Somebody will have to

score points to win games,” Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege

said. “Geno Smith’s a great player. He’s playing at a high level.

He’s got his offense rolling right now. But we’ve got faith in our

defense. They feel confident that they can play, and we feel

confident that we’re going to put points up. …

“We’re excited about the opportunity, and we welcome the


Texas Tech, though, is surely going to need a better effort from

Doege if it hopes to keep up. The senior threw for 203 yards and a

career high-tying three interceptions in a 41-20 loss to then-No.

17 Oklahoma last Saturday.

“Seth’s a guy who will battle back,” coach Tommy Tuberville

said. “He’s made a lot of plays for us and we have all the

confidence in the world in him.”

As good as West Virginia has been on offense, its inability to

slow anyone down could give Doege a chance to regroup. The

Mountaineers have surrendered 1,104 yards over their last two games

and rank ninth in the conference with 35.0 points allowed per


“From what I’ve seen, there is an opportunity there to move the

ball and score points,” Doege said. “Regardless what defense we’re

going against, that is our goal as an offense. We feel like we have

the talent and the coaches and everything in place to be one of the

most explosive offenses in the country. That is the way we approach

every game.

“We’ve prepared. We’ve practiced better than I’ve ever been a

part of around here. It’s just a matter of time that we get it all

together and perform on Saturday.”

The Red Raiders have given up an average of 48.8 points in

losing six of seven versus ranked foes.

Texas Tech lost the only meeting with West Virginia 7-6 in