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WVU Football Hangs On as Neal Brown Finally Beats Texas Tech



WVU Football CJ Donaldson against Texas Tech

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – On a day that was about celebrating West Virginia’s past success, the 2023 WVU football team gave Mountaineer Nation something to cheer about on their own.

West Virginia (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) kicked off against Texas Tech (1-3, 0-1 Big 12) to open up Big 12 play hours after the 2023 class was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame. The pressure was then on Neal Brown to make sure his Mountaineers made those WVU legends proud.

The game started off with Nicco Marchiol, who got the start for an injured Garrett Greene, showing that he also has athleticism with a 16-yard run, scrambling to the outside and away from the Texas Tech defense. That run sparked some excitement, but the drive ended in a punt when Marchiol failed to break away a few plays later.

It took until the middle of the first quarter for either team to get on the board. On their second offensive possession, the Red Raiders kicked a field goal to take a 3-0 lead with just under nine minutes left in the opening quarter. West Virginia then finally put points on the board of their own.

Thanks to the power of CJ Donaldson, Rodney Gallagher and Kole Taylor, WVU was able to consistently get as much as possible out of each play. Each of them were able to gain a few extra yards when they got their hands on the ball and eventually get into the end zone. Donaldson was the one to score the touchdown with a short two-yard run, giving West Virginia a 7-3 advantage.

WVU Football Takes Lead Over Texas Tech Thanks to Long TD Drive

Then later in the first half, after barely getting enough for a first down, Marchiol burst through for another monster run. He exploded with emotion to signal that the offense was moving the chains again. This put the Mountaineers on the doorstep of their second touchdown, but unfortunately for the Old Gold and Blue, West Virginia was only able to kick a field goal and move the scoreboard to 10-3.

From that point on, momentum went back and forth to close the half. Aubrey Burks deflected a pass that if he picked off would’ve easily resulted in a defensive score for the Mountaineers. But an interception from Marchiol on the following WVU possession handed Texas Tech a chance to tie the game.

The Red Raiders were unable to do anything with the opportunity and the half ended with Michael Hayes converting on his second field goal, this one a 46-yarder, to head to the locker room with West Virginia extending their lead to 13-3.

The WVU defense started off the second half full of energy. Players were jumping on the sidelines and linebacker Jared Bartlett almost picked off a pass before a sack ended Texas Tech’s possession. That intensity continued throughout the third quarter, even when the Red Raiders offense showed some brief signs of life.

It would be a tale of big plays that should’ve been for West Virginia throughout the rest of the third quarter. The biggest miss for WVU was Marchiol waiting too long before firing to a wide open Hudson Clement. Brown and wide receiver position coach Bilal Marshall went ballistic at the referees near them on the sidelines and the play was reviewed, but it remained an incompletion as the ball hit the ground.

Failures to increase the lead allowed the Red Raiders to crawl back in the game. It was only a matter of time before quarterback Behren Morton threw a strike to Jerald Bradley, cutting the score down to 13-10, Mountaineers.

All of the momentum built up by Texas Tech was then washed away as West Virginia finally was able to get second half points. And after Marchiol used his legs to gain yards, he found Taylor wide open right in front of the end zone as WVU’s big-body tight end walked in for the touchdown. This moved the game to 20-10 with seven minutes remaining.

Texas Tech managed to add another field goal and then won a review that resulted in a first down in West Virginia territory in the final minute and a half. It was then up to the defense to hold on and secure the win for WVU. Despite making the fan sweat, that happened.

West Virginia got its third win of the season and first victory for Brown over Texas Tech. The Mountaineers now hit the road and travel to face TCU.

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