MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The more schemes West Virginia’s defense threw at Jace Amaro, the more passes No. 16 Texas Tech threw his way.

Beating all brands of coverages, the 6-foot-5 big tight end proved too big, too agile, too determined to be stopped Saturday, making nine catches for 136 yards that carried the Red Raiders to a 37-27 comeback victory.

With West Virginia leading by 11 points late in the third quarter, Amaro sought out coach Kliff Kingsbury with a simple demand.

“He said ‘Put it on my shoulders’ and I said ‘All right, the ball’s coming your way.’ He kept making plays,” Kingsbury said.

The Big 12’s top pass-catcher coming in with 47 receptions, Amaro made grabs of 37 and 32 yards on Texas Tech’s next two touchdown drives. His 10-yard touchdown catch on third down with 1:01 deflated WVU’s final hope.

“It’s a great feeling when you know the game’s closed out,” Amaro said.

“In the second half he said ‘Put it on my shoulders’ and I said ‘All right, the ball’s coming your way.’ He kept making plays.” — Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury

Some three hours earlier, Amaro jumpstarted Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0) with a 10-yard touchdown on his team’s second series.

“We tried all sorts of things: three-deep concepts, two-deep concepts, bracketing, man under. He’s a handful,” said West Virginia defensive coordinator Keith Patterson.

“He’s a great player and, boy, they did a nice job getting him the football.”

On a third-and-2 play in the third quarter, Amaro ran past nickelback K.J. Dillon for a 32-yard catch down to the WVU 11.

“They went to cover zero, and I actually ran the wrong route,” Amaro admitted. To help quarterback Davis Webb cope with the blitz, he was supposed to cut his route short, but he stayed with the vertical. “I was supposed to be hot on that play, and I ended just saying I was going to beat him off the line.”

And Webb had time to float a perfect pass downfield, part of the freshman’s 462-yard passing day. That included an eight-catch, 112-yard receiving day for Bradley Marquez.

“(Amaro) just makes everybody else on the field that much better,” Patterson said. “You put so much attention on trying to bracket him that you’ve got guys singled up all over the place.”

Various scouting agencies have Amaro among the top three or four tight ends eligible for next spring’s NFL draft, though he insists he’s planning on returning for a senior year.

“My mindset right now is playing college football—it has nothing to do with the NFL,” he said. “I plan on staying here all four years.”

Amaro’s coach, who spent three seasons in the NFL and two more quarterbacking in the Canadian Football League, suspects otherwise.

“If the money’s right, where it’s supposed to be, you’re going to kick him out the door,” Kingsbury said. “That’s part of the game and he needs to go make what he can make.

“We’ll see at the end of the year with the evaluation process. We’ve got to do what’s best for Jace.”

Whenever Amaro departs for the NFL, Patterson has a prediction: “He’s going to be an All-Pro.”

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  • jd

    Oliver will luck will be the new AD at Texas next year and y'all can laugh your way to UTs door and laydown in front.

  • wvajoker

    @chuck farley. Good post. At least someone is being realistic. The Four Jackasses (Horsemen??) minus William (guess he is reading about the Green) seems to have brought in a few more jackasses and armchair coaches to help out with the braying.

  • Big Larry

    I just packed up and moved to Lubbock TX.
    The weather is great here!
    I'm going to go eat a slice of Kingsberry pie!

  • JimJim

    If the Dude can't pick a quarterback, how can he pick recruits??? He sees the quarterbacks every day, and still can't decide which one is best. How in the world can he pick a high school kids who he sees one or two time?

  • The Sarge

    Rich Rod, we forgive you, please come back and bring all of the coaches you took with you!!!!!!!!!

  • Alex

    It is well-known that Gino,Austin, Bailey, came to WVU when (William,) Bill Stewart was the HC. The juniors and seniors on this team is Bill Stewarts recruits. For some reason a lot of the juniors and seniors are guys that are not good enough to beat out the freshman and sophomore group that Holgersen has to work with, and by the way there is not very many of them anyway.... At one point last year there was nine freshman playing in the game on defense... It's rebuilding time

  • David Warnick

    The way to stop Amaro is to put someone there to knock him down on the snap and when he gets up knock him down again. No body catches passes on his back.

  • Mountaineer 4 ever

    We'll said

  • pghmountaineer

    I can't imagine Oliver Luck not making a change at the end of the year. Just look at this coaching staff's performance since they have taken over. They had some great talent last year and what was the result? A disappointment. Some people are good coordinators and not good head coaches.
    The cost of not doing something is far greater than waiting to see if this program gets turned around. There is no indication this will improve.

  • Mountaineer 4 ever

    Let every one know Bill Stewart recruited Geno Smith and Brunetti, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. The players u see on the field if u look closely are Dana's recruits, this team is doomed until this coach is replaced. Dana hired this defensive coaching staff, and all three quarterbacks are his recruits also, which should tell everyone he is not a very good recruiter.

  • James

    Here is your problem, I'm going to keep it short and simple, at the end of the day, the majority of the kids on the team do not care for Holgorsen, and is your players don't respect you, then your in trouble, it sickens me when I watch the games, and the team nor the coaches seem like they care, I hope we win the rest of the games, but I'm not seeing it, we will be lucky to finish 6 and 6

    • Joe

      6 and 6 would be a win with what we have this season. Let's face it...the team is young, inexperienced, and has relied heavily on ju-co mercenaries. They have had there moments, which tells me they will et better. This is the coach's first big job. He really does need 2 to 3 years using his own recruits to prove himself. If he was chummier like Stewart, or Nehlen, all the nay-sayers would call him a hick. Let's just get real folks. This is a big time conference and these teams come to play.

  • JM

    Rich Rod is probably coming back. Why else would he issue an explanation? He wants to come back, and apparently a donor or school representative is guiding his way back.

  • jj

    there is a black cloud over morgantown for the way coach stew was treated, it`s called bad carma

  • Oldskool

    The one trademark of the teams coach by Don Nehlen and to a degree the RichRod teams was a physical style of play and mental toughness. On the whole this has been lacking on Holgerson's teams. This is an attitude and begins from the top down. You don't hear this from the coaching staff. Coaches like Rick Trickett and Bill Kirelawich oozed toughness. This is a tough sport that demands toughness and the teams that play physical tend to compete better. We certainly have tough physical players but we don't seem to out physical the opponent very often. Mental toughness is even more important when the chips are down. This coaching staff has been less than impressive the last two seasons. Holgerson will probably be granted one more season by the fans to turn it around. One more mediocre season and the fan base will demand a change.

  • Marcus

    Toolman, if he said jump you probably would.