The first four games of Texas Tech’s 2020 campaign have left Red Raider fans disappointed.
In the second year of the Matt Wells era, Texas Tech has picked up just one win in four games as they sit above just Kansas in the Big 12 standings. That doesn’t mean, however, that the Mountaineers are writing their opponents off.
“They’ve played a very difficult schedule, I think their record doesn’t tell the story necessarily,” said WVU coach Neal Brown.
Tech opened their season by squeaking a two-point victory over Houston Baptist, then followed that up two weeks later with an overtime loss against Texas. Over the next two weeks, the Red Raiders would hit the road and take double-digit losses to both Kansas State and Iowa State.
Just like last year’s meeting, the Red Raiders are heading into their matchup with West Virginia off a bye week. That fact is not lost on Brown, who recalls taking the loss “handily” in 2019.
Here are some of the biggest storylines surrounding the Red Raiders this week:
Bowman out, Colombi in
Once again, West Virginia will be facing a first-time starter at quarterback.
Alan Bowman sustained a minor injury in the Red Raiders’ Oct. 3 contest against Kansas State. He got the start again on Iowa State, but was replaced on the final two drives of the contest for Utah State transfer Henry Colombi. The new guy completed 10 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, seemingly injecting a little life into his team’s offense.
Wells says he made the change with the hope of keeping that better play on offense going into the next contest.
“It’s a matter of Henry, when he’s got in, he’s played well, and he’s moved us,” Wells said. “We need to continue to stay aggressive at the quarterback position and get through our progressions.”
Colombi has experience with his current coaching staff, which made the move from Utah State to Lubbock a season prior to him. Under Wells, Colombi appeared in seven games and racked up 239 passing yards, 108 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Simply put, Texas Tech’s defense is at the bottom of the Big 12 — the Red Raiders allow 499 yards per game, which is 45 yards more than Kansas State, who sits in the ninth spot.
Much of those troubles stem from Tech’s struggles in stopping the pass. They’ve allowed 335.5 yards every contest through the air so far, which has caused the Red Raiders to hone in on that aspect of their defense in the open week.
“It’s kind of communication,” said Eric Monroe, a senior safety. “That’s what we dial on every week when we go to these games. No vertical shots, no cheap shots, that’s what we strive for every day in practice, to not give up those deep shots.”
The Red Raider defense is a bit more of a patchwork than it has been in recent years. Monroe joined the squad as a defending national champion at LSU, while another three possible starters — including linebacker Colin Schooler, a former teammate of WVU’s Tony Fields II — were wearing the uniforms of another university just a season ago.
In total, as many as seven transfers could get the call to start on Saturday.