As we told you at the beginning of the year, this WVU defense has a chance to be one of the best in the Big 12 — and through four games, they are proving us right. That unit will once again be the key for Mountaineers this week as they face Texas Tech.

The WVU defense is ranked number one in total defense in the conference and second when it comes to scoring. That’s bad news for the Red Raiders, who are coming off of a 31-15 loss to Iowa State. In that game, the Cyclones held Tech to just 58 rushing yards and only 270 yards of total offense. They were also 0-for-10 on third down conversions. The Mountaineers are second in the league defensively in third down conversions — teams are just 14-of-54 through four games.

The WVU defensive front continues to impress, they have four players in the top 10 in sacks led by true freshman Akheem Mesidor with four. They have 16 total as a team.  He along with Jeffery Pooler, Jared Bartlett and Darius Stills will all try to make Henry Colombi’s day rough on Saturday.

The WVU and Texas Tech offenses are very similar when it comes to the numbers especially in scoring at 33 and 32 points per game and in total offense at 3rd and 4th. But WVU is much better when it comes to running the ball. The Mountaineers have made great improvements in the rushing attack and are second in the conference averaging 189 yards per game, while Texas Tech is seventh at 141 yards. By the way, the Mountaineer defense is number one against the run while Tech is seventh — meaning Leddie Brown could have another big day, he’s currently second in the conference with 515 yards and 5 scores. Iowa State ran for 214 yards and two scores last week against Tech.

It’s been a running theme to our keys to the game, but penalties continue to be a problem for the Mountaineers, they are last in the league averaging 92 yards a game. Last week they committed 8 for 76 yards but only one in the second half so hopefully that is a sign of things to come. Tech, by the way, is one of the least penalized teams in the conference.