Before Saturday, Texas Tech’s improved defense hadn’t shut down an outstanding quarterback. Steele Jantz doesn’t count. And the Red Raiders didn’t shut down Landry Jones. But few deny it’s a strong performance when you hold Geno Smith to a 53-percent completion rate and one touchdown pass. On the defensive development chart, that’s a big box to check off.
Paid the price
So much for that good luck with not getting key players hurt. WR Bradley Marquez tweeted that his knee injury is season-ending. TE Jace Amaro might miss the next game, right after having his best career game. CB Cornelius Douglas hurt a knee and missed nearly the entire game. And WR Javon Bell was already out with a foot injury. It was the worst week for Tech injuries all season.
Bring ’em on
In taking out West Virginia, Tech beat an opponent ranked in the top five for the second year in a row. It can’t hurt the Red Raiders’ confidence to know they have it in them to beat good teams, especially with TCU, Kansas State and Texas coming next. Both last year at Oklahoma and Saturday against West Virginia, QB Seth Doege was outstanding. His 499-yard, six-TD performance was the perfect recovery after two rocky games.
Next man up
Losing CB Cornelius Douglas on the first series is exactly what Tech did not need against an offense like West Virginia’s. However, Bruce Jones seized the opportunity to shine. Jones was credited with three pass breakups, all of them on potentially big plays for the Mountaineers — in the end zone, and in the open field on fly patterns. Giving up 6 inches to West Virginia WR J.D. Woods, Jones played with confidence and had a productive day.
Sophomore Blake Dees might be making the case for more playing time at middle linebacker. He had five tackles, more than anybody in the front seven except DT Kerry Hyder. Usual starter Will Smith reportedly was ill, but Dees said he was told last Sunday, at the beginning of game-week preparation, that he would start against West Virginia.
Compiled by Don Williams