MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia held a double-digit lead in the third quarter, the first time Texas Tech trailed in the second half all season. But the Mountaineers were outgained 164-19 in the final period of what became a 37-27 loss.
“We had them up against the ropes at the end of the third quarter,” said West Virginia senior center Pat Eger. “But they made more plays than us. They deserved to win that football game.
“They came out in that fourth quarter and dominated that fourth quarter. Hats off to them for doing that.”
West Virginia (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, while Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0) has won its first seven games for only the fourth time in program history.
Changing direction when a left-side zone run was clogged, Dreamius Smith dashed right for a 38-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
He added a 12-yard touchdown in the third quarter that put WVU ahead 27-16 and had Mountaineer Field primed for an upset. But his team never scored again, and despite a season-high 89 yards on 16 carries, Smith was on the short end of a 37-27 final.
“I mean, Texas Tech, they’re a good team, but at the end of the day, if we make a few plays … we get this win,” Smith said.
The storyline of player vs. mentor was in heavy rotation this week as Kliff Kingsbury faced off against Holgorsen, his former coach at Texas Tech and superior at Houston.
“There was some personal stuff there—all positive,” Kingsbury said. “Anytime you beat somebody that’s your mentor it’s fun.”
Kingsbury also was reacquainted with WVU running back Charles Sims, whom Kingsbury coached at Houston and tried to lure to Texas Tech as a transfer last spring. (Houston coach Tony Levine prohibited Sims from transferring to any school in Texas.) Sims ran for 77 yards on 15 carries and caught seven passes for 32 yards and a touchdown.
“Charles (Sims), to see him have the success—he’s one of my favorite players to ever coach,” Kingsbury said. “He’s going to be a great player at the next level. I was hoping I was going to get him at Texas Tech, but that didn’t work out. He’s an unbelievable player. I’m glad he’s here and having success.”
“I’m just glad they didn’t beat us.”
FUMBLE AT THE 1
On an otherwise stellar afternoon, quarterback Davis Webb made one crucial mistake that riled Kingsbury and cost Texas Tech a touchdown.
Texas Tech led 13-3 with six minutes left in the half when Webb saw a ginormous gap open at the WVU 13. He scrambled untouched inside the 3 past the first-down marker, but tried to touchdown wiggle between three defenders at the goal line instead of sliding.
A pop from safety Darwin Cook and a second thud from linebacker Isaiah Bruce jarred the ball free at the 1, where Bruce fell on the fumble.
WVU answered with a 99-yard touchdown drive, part of 20 unanswered points for the Mountaineers.
“On that one I was mad because we talk about sliding all the time,” Kingsbury said. “He’s not the most nimble guy to try and jump in the end zone.”
Though the Red Raides came in unbeaten, they haven’t been embraced by national media and analysts, many of whom picked Tech to lose Saturday in Morgantown.
“That’s great—I hope they keep saying it,” Kingsbury said. “I hope they keep giving us that locker room material.”
Back in July, Texas Tech was picked seventh in the Big 12 preseason poll, and Kingsbury has continually reminded his team about the slight.
“We’re still trying to prove to people that we’re not that bad,” he said.