The no. 12 West Virginia Mountaineers outlasted the no. 24 Texas Tech Red Raiders in Lubbock Saturday afternoon 42-34. WVU was ahed at halftime 35-7. Then, a sluggish second half performance led to Texas Tech getting back into the game and almost, pulling off the upset.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen was happy they got the win over no. 25 Texas Tech. “Proud of our guys for just hanging in there for four quarters and find a way to win there at the end.” Said Holgorsen.
The Mountaineers had an offensive explosion in the first quarter with 28 points and 279 yards of total offense. Will Grier threw for 198 yards on 13-17 passing and two touchdowns. Marcus Simms caught seven of those passes for 115 yards.
Marcus came into the game leading the team in yards with 295 yards on 15 receptions, and has been their most consistent receiver this year.
“He’s (Marcus Simms) just practiced well.” Explained Dana. “Fall camp he was really consistent. He’s just practiced well all camp. This is three weeks in a row that he’s played better. The better he plays the more he’ll get targeted. He’s arguably our top wideout right now.”
Texas Tech started to drive the ball and chew up some clock in the second quarter. The Mountaineers put up another touchdown before halftime to make it 35-7 and it looked like West Virginia was going to cruise their way to a victory.
West Virginia defensive lineman Ezekiel Rose and defensive back Josh Norwood sandwiched Red Raider starting quarterback Alan Bowman and knocked him out of the game late in the first half. Backup quarterback Jett Duffy came in and rallied the offense in the second half.
Duffy made the most of his time. He threw for 172 yards, ran for 86 and had two total touchdowns. “We knew he could run around. Kid made some good plays, we just didn’t have a whole of information on him” explained Holgorsen.
The Mountaineer offense came out flat after halftime and the Red Raiders started building momentum.
West Virginia couldn’t put a drive together. They were held scoreless the last 30 minutes and could only muster up 107 yards of offense, while Texas Tech put up 382 yards and 27 points.
“I give Kliff (Kingsbury) and his team a lot of credit for coming out the in the second half with a new quarterback and playing their tail off. Especially defensively, they shut us down and they kept playing and gave themselves a chance at the end.” Said Dana.
West Virginia’s offense rolled up 382 yards in the first half and sputtered in the second.
“They played harder than us in the second half today.” Voiced Dana. Being down 25 at halftime, I commend their coaching staff for keeping them playing hard. We just didn’t execute the second half.”
Holgorsen couldn’t stress enough on finishing games
“I think we’re a pretty decent offense. We scored 35 points in the first half. We’ll watch it and learn from it.” Said Holgersen. “I’m a little disappointed we didn’t play as hard as I thought we could have in the second half. That falls on me. We got to do a better job of getting them going regardless of what the score is. We got to handle success better. We got to be able to play better and play smarter when we’re winning. I think we got a good football team and if we’re winning that can’t dictate how we play because we have to keep scoring at times.”
The offense didn’t play well; however, the defense proved they are arguably the best in the conference.
The corners played well, Keith Washington in particularly. He seven tackles three pass breakups and a pick six to seal the game for the Mountaineers. “We got four of them. They’re going to get better. We got competition. They’re all four playing pretty good. I was happy with how they all did.” Said Holgerson.
The Mountaineers got that elusive road conference win and still unbeaten. “Good teams find a way to win. Especially on the road in the Big 12. We’re happy about that. We’re thrilled to be 2-0 in the Big 12. Defense stepped up and hung and there and made a play at the end to get us some points on the board.” Boasted Dana.