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Mountaineers return to Texas

Oct. 10, 2012 @ 11:40 PM

MORGANTOWN -- Coming off an emotional road victory against No. 15 Texas, the No. 5 West Virginia University football team heads back to the Lone Star State for a Saturday game at Texas Tech.

WVU (5-0) and Texas Tech (4-1) meet in a Big 12 Conference game at 3:30 p.m. on ABC.

The challenge is a little different than last week, but WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen doesn't buy into people saying it's a "trap game" for the Mountaineers.

"I don't understand what a trap game means," he said. "You play the same every week. If you don't have the ability to understand that every week is the same, you get beat. Whether it's a trap game or a big game, it's a game."

Unlike last season, when West Virginia was familiar with its Big East Conference opponents, the Mountaineers don't know much about the Big 12.

"There will be 60,000 (people) that care about their football (at Texas Tech). I would assume that will be pretty rowdy as well," Holgorsen said. "That's the beauty with being in the Big 12. Every game is like that.

"That's why we wanted to be in the Big 12. If they thought (Texas) was fun, we have another one this week. I'm looking forward to it."

Saturday's matchup in Lubbock, Texas, will be a showdown between two of the Big 12's top quarterbacks in WVU Heisman Trophy frontrunner Geno Smith squaring off against Texas Tech's Seth Doege.

Doege and the Red Raiders are averaging 39 points and 509 yards per game.

And Texas Tech's senior quarterback himself is playing pretty well. Doege has thrown for 1,392 yards and 15 touchdowns with six interceptions.

"They run a similar system to what we do," Holgorsen said. "I've known their coaches for some time and we have been to a lot of different clinics together. They have a quarterback that is a veteran and understands the system and game of football."

But it's been the Texas Tech defense that has been even more impressive than the always-dangerous Red Raider offense through the early part of the schedule.

After finishing last season as the 118th-ranked defense in the nation, the Red Raiders have flourished this season. They're giving up a little more than 200 yards per game and are the No.3 pass defense in the country.

"People haven't moved the ball on them," Holgorsen said. "We were in here 16 hours yesterday trying to figure out creative ways to get first downs. They do a good job against the run, they do a good job against the pass and they create turnovers, and we're going to have to play as good as we have all year offensively."

Texas Tech has intercepted opposing quarterbacks five times, which will cause for an interesting matchup for Smith. WVU's senior QB has thrown 258 consecutive passes without being intercepted. For the season he is 166 of 204 for 1,996 yards and 24 touchdowns.

The Mountaineers don't talk about Smith's streak, Holgorsen said.

"We talk about completions and putting the ball where you need to put the ball," the coach said.