MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Davis Webb passed for 462 yards and two touchdowns and Kenny Williams ran for two more in leading 16th-ranked Texas Tech to a 37-27, come-from-behind victory over West Virginia Saturday afternoon at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The Red Raiders, trailing 27-16 at one point early in the third quarter, produced 21 unanswered points to give coach Kliff Kingsbury a seventh straight victory to begin his college coaching career.
“I want to congratulate Texas Tech for getting the victory here, to have enough fight and will to them to make enough plays to be able to win the game at the end,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “Obviously, we didn’t have that.”
For a while, it looked like the Mountaineers (3-4) might pull off another home upset three weeks after knocking off 11th-ranked Oklahoma State, but the Tech defense stiffened and Webb was able to locate his favorite target, tight end Jace Amaro, for several big pass hookups in the second half.
Amaro finished the game with nine catches for 136 yards and two 10-yard touchdown grabs, the last one coming with 1:01 left to put the game on ice. Amaro also caught the game’s first TD on Texas Tech’s second possession of the contest.
“You can’t cover him and even when you do cover him he still makes plays,” said Holgorsen. “He’s a great player. For the most part, on his nine catches we were able to get him down, but a couple of times we were not able to get him down and that’s when he’s going to make you pay."
After spotting the Red Raiders a 13-point lead, West Virginia took advantage of two key turnovers to tie the game right before halftime.
Tech had a great opportunity to take a two-touchdown lead late in the second quarter when it had the ball inside the WVU 15, but on second down Webb had the ball knocked loose by West Virginia linebacker Isaiah Bruce
as he scrambled to the 1, and Bruce recovered it there.
The Mountaineers answered with a 99-yard drive, converting two long third downs in the process, to make it a 13-10 game. Dreamius Smith
got the football into the end zone when he went left, changed direction, and ran 38 yards for the score.
On the ensuing kickoff, Terrell Chestnut
knocked the ball out of Austin Stewart’s arms and Brandon Napoleon
recovered it at the 17, leading to Josh Lambert
’s second field goal of the game, a 30-yarder.
Lambert’s first field goal came from 33 yards with 9:01 remaining in the second quarter. Holgorsen chose not to let Lambert attempt another field goal late in the first quarter from the Tech 26 when he went for it on fourth and 14. But Trickett’s pass to Kevin White
near the end zone fell harmlessly to the turf.
“I regretted that,” said Holgorsen. “We were moving the ball and then the penalties just kept backing us up. I felt good about where we were at offensively. What was my thinking at that point? I just felt good about moving the ball, and I just saw them take it right down the field two times in a row so I figured touchdowns were going to be important.”
The Mountaineers began the second half with a 13-play, 74-yard drive that culminated with Charles Sims
’s 4-yard touchdown catch to make it 20-13, and after Bustin’s third field goal, a 26-yarder, Smith reached the end zone for a second time when he bounced it outside and raced 12 yards to the pylon for his fourth rushing touchdown of the season.
From that point, Texas Tech completely shut down West Virginia’s offense, allowing just 29 yards in the fourth quarter.
“We started feeling pretty good about ourselves mid-third (quarter) when it was 27-16 and the game wasn’t over,” said Holgorsen. “We refused to make a play on offense, defense or special teams in the last quarter and a half. We refused to coach well enough to be able to win the game.”
Trickett finished the game completing 27-of-43 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown while freshman Daikiel Shorts
caught nine passes for 78 yards and White
added five catches for 77 yards.
West Virginia finished the game with 437 yards on 82 plays while Texas Tech had 573 yards on 81 plays.
“When you end the game with five three-and-outs I think everybody would agree that’s as bad as it can get offensively at obviously the most crucial time of the game,” said Holgorsen. “That’s when you’d like to see the defense rise up and make a stop and we refused to do that to help us win.”
The Mountaineers return to the road for the next two weeks for games at Kansas State next weekend and at TCU on Nov. 2.
Texas Tech is at Oklahoma next weekend.