Big 12 football: Kansas State-West Virginia game highlights this week's league schedule
West Virginia suffered a 49-14 loss to Texas Tech — can the Mountaineers rebound against a tough K-State team?
Kansas State travels to West Virginia on Saturday for a pivotal Big 12 showdown.
Did Texas Tech's stunning 49-14 win over the Mountaineers provide a blueprint?
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“I don't know about a blueprint,” said K-State coach Bill Snyder. “It may be for teams that have the same type of schematic capabilities and the same kind of personnel. Every team is different. Not only did they play well defensively, they played very well up front. Their offense was productive as well.”
One key will be whether the Wildcats can control the clock to keep West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith on the sidelines.
“They're the same as they've always been,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “They're very tough. This will be our biggest challenge of the year, without question. They're a physical group that's mentally tough, physically tough and extremely disciplined.”
TECH'S DEFENSE IS MUCH IMPROVED
After a 41-20 loss to Oklahoma, it was suggested Texas Tech's defense was highly ranked because of inferior competition. But the Red Raiders' performance against West Virginia was a strong statement for a unit that ranked 116th nationally last year in total defense.
Texas Tech's dramatic turnaround has been under first-year defensive coordinator Art Kaufman, a 28-year coaching veteran who was at North Carolina last season.
“Art and I kind of grew up together in Arkansas,” said Tech coach Tommy Tuberville. “One thing he's brought to the table is his sense of patience, understanding you can only go so far in a short period of time. We haven't tried to do a whole lot.
“We're not a blitzing team. We line up in a four-man front most of the time. He teaches (fundamentals). We haven't gone beyond that. We don't try to trick anybody. We don't slant or do exotic things. We line the players up and let them play.”
DID MOUNTAINEERS TIP OFF PLAYS?
West Virginia's running game stalled, and the passing game seemed to be bothered by windy conditions Saturday in Lubbock.
There's also a theory why West Virginia's high powered offense never found a rhythm — an offensive tackle's stance tipped off whether each play would be a run or a pass.
“Part of the trick about playing defense is you don't know if it's going to be run or pass,” Holgorsen said. “If we're doing anything from a personnel standpoint, a technique standpoint, a stance standpoint or signaling standpoint, that's something we need to get fixed to make sure we're not predictable.”
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