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WVU must learn from loss vs. Texas Tech

| Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
West Virginia's Geno Smith throws under pressure from Texas Tech's Kerry Hyder during an NCAA college football game in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. AP Photo

Texas Tech unveiled the perfect game plan against West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith.

The strategy contributed to a season-low scoring output and a 49-14 WVU loss, while exposing flaws in the Mountaineers' explosive offense for the first time this season.

The No. 17 Mountaineers (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) will play host to No. 4 Kansas State (6-0, 3-0) on Saturday.

Here is how Texas Tech slowed down WVU:

• WVU rushed for 133 yards and 3.7 yards per carry after averaging 164 yards and 5.0 yards in the previous five games.

“The run game is developed to alleviate some of the pressure off (Smith),” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said. “We didn't finish blocks in the run game. Our running backs didn't do a good job of hitting hard.”

• Smith, who completed 29 of 55 passes for 295 yards and one touchdown, wasn't sacked but Texas Tech made him uncomfortable in the pocket.

“We made him move his feet,” Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. “We didn't get to him that much, but made him move to his right, to his left. He was noticing we were around him and when you do that, it knocks the timing off.”

“Their D-line did a great job of being aggressive. They were coming after me,” Smith said. “I had room to run. I should have used my legs a lot more.”

• Texas Tech limited Tavon Austin's yards after catch and held him without a touchdown for the first time in 2012.

“Open-field tackling was huge,” said Texas Tech safety Cody Davis, who made a game-high 13 tackles. “Everybody seemed to get them down when it was one on one.”

• Texas Tech gambled that WVU couldn't complete long passes in heavy winds. The Mountaineers finished with only one play over 20 yards.

“Going in, we were going to make him throw deep. That ball kind of fizzles in the wind on deep balls,” Tuberville said. “We disguised our corners. We walked them up, we walked them back. We probably pressed them more than what they thought we would. They're good throwing go-routes and it got them out of rhythm.”

• WVU made 10 of 21 third-down conversions after converting 53 percent on third down through its first five games. Eleven third-down plays against Texas Tech were for 5 yards or more.

“They dropped seven (into coverage) and did a great job of keeping everything in front of them,” Smith said. “They forced us into some third-and-long situations.”

John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com.

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