MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia had but a single dose of resilience in its kit Saturday. Enough to scale out of an early 13-point hole, but none left when the game demanded another stand in the fourth quarter.

Texas Tech, as the conventional wisdom went, ascended to No. 16 in the AP poll through a fusion of fortuitous scheduling, even more fortuitous officiating and Kliff Kingsbury endorphin-rush that would finally peter out against West Virginia.

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Dreamius Smith ran for 89 yards and two scores but WVU’s running game dried up on its final five series.

But Tech’s ubiquitous “Fearless” mantra sure seemed appropriate after Davis Webb, a backup quarterback, and a freshman backup at that, overcame a game-changing goal-line fumble to pass for 462 yards.

You want fearless? Try facing third-and-6, nursing a three-point lead with two minutes left, when Webb lobbed a 27-yard pass through tight coverage to Jordan Davis, a guy who had one catch in the previous five games.

More fearlessness? On that same drive, with 1:11 to go and WVU down to its last timeout, Webb eschewed the play-it-safe, chew-some-clock doctrine and fired into the end zone twice. One was incomplete, but the second was a kill-shot, curled precisely into the All-American mitts of Mountaineers nemesis Jace Amaro behind a helpless linebacker.

As Amaro raced toward the Texas Tech fans segregated in their corner section, Kingsbury met his fearless quarterback at the hashmark for a flying chest bump. WVU still had its timeout, but Tech had its clinching score, 37-27.

“We talk about it all the time—fortune favors the bold,” said Kingsbury, bold enough to become the first coach in Big 12 history to open a career 7-0.

Then again, Texas Tech sure wore the look of a 6-1 team late in the third quarter after Dreamius Smith’s 12-yard touchdown surged WVU ahead 27-16. Mountaineer Field boiled with enthusiasm, a bass-heavy soundtrack pumping the joint into a frenzied scene not unlike the one three weeks ago that claimed No. 11 Oklahoma State.

But all the pomp and pep, both in the stands and on the sideline, evaporated as Webb steered the Red Raiders to touchdown drives of 80, 84 and 69 yards. Yes, the 18-year-old kid with the Napoleon Dynamite grin hit on 16-of-22 passes for 208 yards in the span of 18 game minutes.

“We’re weren’t going to leave it up to anyone else,” Kingsbury said. “We knew it was up to him to make good throws, and today he did that.”

WVU’s answer to Tech’s late-game rally was pathetic. Four punts and a turnover on downs.

“We froze up at the end,” said Mountaineers offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. “Whenever it got tough, I think we went three-and-out (three out of four times). When things got tough we didn’t have guys that are going to stand up and make plays.”

Dana Holgorsen, his program sorely needing a snap-back victory after being bombed by Baylor, sounded more peeved than ever. Proclaiming this “a game we should’ve won,” he questioned not his team’s physical expenditure but rather its lack of belief that good things would happen. Players moved with velocity, but without volition, turning agnostic when situations demanded assuredness.

“(Texas Tech) had enough fight and will to make enough plays to win the game in the end,” Holgorsen said. “We did not have that.

“The will to win was not there. You could see it on the sidelines in the fourth quarter.”

When Saturday’s game began, few outside of Lubbock believed Texas Tech was as good as its unbeaten record. As the game wound down, few on the WVU side believed they could beat such an overrated team.

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  • William Price

    Pathetic 4th. qtr. play calling. No short or intermediate passes. No tight end passes. No guts.

  • big tom

    our special teams really suck
    why do we try to run kickoffs , back when the ball goes into the endzone..
    I mean, if we down it, we get it on the 25, if we run it out , we get it to the 11.... somethings wrong with the coaching, and it's the overpaid, non productive special teams coach deforest, and is a bad bad coach

  • Juan

    We have no pass rush, the opposing qb can stand and build a tent waiting for our line to get to him!

  • Whatamoroon

    This team had a 27-16 lead when Texas Tech smacked them in the mouth with a quick score and they laid down like a broke hooker, on both offense and defense.

  • JM

    Hey Rich, you ready to come back?

    • ROOTS

      How much you payin'? Will I be ALL powerful? Get me these answers, then I will let you know if I will grace you with my presence.

  • Lo boy

    Ok, I feel better now. Have a great sunday!

  • Lo boy

    It seems like week in and week out, we are making stars on other teams due to poor defense/offense. what happened to creating stars at wvu?

  • Lo boy

    It's time to tell it like it is. If something does not change in morgantown, we will be the Rutgers/Temple of the Big 12.

    • JimJim

      Check the record, we already are!

  • Lo boy

    Harper's Ferry rocks!!

  • JTC

    Team speed on defense is still lacking, offense line lacks depth and consistency, Trickett is not a accurate passer, however he is gutsy. Give Holgoresen one more year then we can reevaluate the program. It is Not out of the realm of possibility to win four of the last five and finish 7-5.

    • Madmountie

      All those problems go back to strength and conditioning.

  • Madmountie

    We won more games in the 2000s because of mike barwis and team strength/attitude than play calls. We beat the other teams down in the second half. Our current strength coach Mike Joseph and his program needs to be closely evaluated and considered for replacement. Our teams have been softer each year since he came here (from a soft Notre Dame program) in 2008. We never had the 5 star recruits but we had the edge. Get the edge back and you win more games.

    • Pruntytown

      You are correct. Teams from the Big East with limited money and poor facilities. These are not the same teams we are facing today. WVU is probably 8 or 9 in the BIG XII in terms of facilities.

  • Ross Ballard

    Geez... You guys couldn't stand it till we elevated an overhyped, midwest, punk of a coach to WV King status. Stop whining. We got what we paid for... Oh we didn't. At a bit over $2 million a year, I know several high school coaches here in the mountain state who could easily best the lousy records we're rapidly piling up. 'Run him off'? I say show him the door.

  • Harpers Ferry

    If the "will to win" is not there, Coach, then who's fault is that? I'm sick of the excuses!!! FIRE this clown now and get someone who will assume responsibility AND be a moral leader to this team!!!!

    • Hedgesville


  • Curly Joe

    Keep the faith....we're getting there in this new conference! Have to say, several proud moments yesterday on all 3 sides of the ball.

    • Harpers Ferry

      Finding moral victories is a symptom of losing programs.

  • Tim C

    Again the safeties were playing way too deep all day....especially in the 4th qtr. They can't help out on the run which is what killed us near the end. Let's face it our secondary can't defend the pass. Our offense went into the toilet in the 4th or we might have won this game. By the way, a freshmen QB threw all over us all day, why can't our junior QB do it? The reason is we don't have a go to guy in the receiving core that can make plays consistently.

    • Hop'sHip

      I just wish we had a receiver who could throw a block!