Mahomes, TTU offense a tall order for WVU defense

By Ryan Decker

Patrick Mahomes is good. Really good.

The junior quarterback for Texas Tech (4-2) has already thrown for nearly 2,300 yards and has accounted for 27 touchdowns – 20 through the air and another seven on the ground.

In every game but one this year he has thrown for at least 470 yards, and twice he has topped the 500-yard plateau.

One of those times was last week against Kansas State, which arguably is the best defensive unit in the Big 12 Conference.

So how does No. 20 West Virginia’s (4-0) defense stop him? That was the biggest talking point at the WVU football team’s media day Tuesday.

“He’s a fantastic football player,” WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Big. Physical. Smart. The work that he’s put in has shown

“He’s playing at a very high level.”

Mahomes’ number of total touchdowns is just one off the pace of Louisville QB Lamar Jackson, who is the leading Heisman candidate that the moment.

It’s not just that Mahomes is putting up big numbers, he’s doing it while being careful with the football.

His 72.8 percent completion percentage is second best in the nation, he’s also a big part in the fact that Texas Tech is converting on third down at over a 50 percent clip and that the Red Raiders are turning trips to the red zone into points around 94 percent of the time.

Twenty six times this year, in fact, Mahomes and company have been able to get into the end zone from inside the 20.

“We haven’t been good on third down to what we normally are,” WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said of his unit. “That’s a little bit concerning. Turnovers are coming about like we’d like to see them. That and three and outs.”

Asked about Mahomes specifically, Gibson started by saying, “He’s a really good player.”

Is there anything in the Red Raiders offense to exploit? His response, proceeded by a sarcastic chuckle: “I haven’t found it yet. I’ve been watching for about 10 days since we’ve finished the K-State game. It’s rough.”

If it weren’t already a tough enough task for the Mountaineers this weekend facing Texas Tech, they’re doing it on the road where nine times in the last 10 games TTU has scored 50 or more points.

So far this season, no matter where the game has been played, the Red Raiders have brought the offense, averaging well over 600 yards and 55 points per contest.

“If you can do that consistently you have a good offense,” senior linebacker Justin Arndt said. “There’s a reason why they put up those numbers. They can put up numbers.”

Justin Arndt addressing the media Tuesday afternoon.   Photo by Ryan Decker 

Something that Arndt mentioned that benefits Texas Tech offensively is the offensive line.

“They’re athletic, they can move,” Arndt said. “One thing they’re good at is, when the quarterback scrambles, they’ll continue to block. They’re not going to just sit back and watch you sack him. They’re good at extending plays, extending drives.”

Kickoff between the Mountaineers and Texas Tech is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET, and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.




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