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West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett walks off the field with Josh Lambert following the kicker’s 55-yard game-winner at Texas Tech.

 

LUBBOCK, Texas — Josh Lambert streaked behind his team’s bench, giving Texas Tech fans some of what they’d been giving him before his game-winning kick. Up in the West Virginia coaching booth, Shannon Dawson hugged his fellow assistants so hard he left Brian Mitchell with a cut on his face.

The aftermath of a 37-34 walkoff win sent the Mountaineers into temporary euphoria, which means it’s up to the Monday Morning Stock Report to rationalize what went down at The House of the Flying Tortillas:

QUARTERBACK
Despite steering the offense to 27 second-half points and capping a wild comeback, Clint Trickett didn’t call this his most satisfying win at West Virginia.

“Nah, no way,” he said. “Was it one of the more exciting ones? Absolutely. Was it one you could build off of? Absolutely. But we should’ve played better, especially in the first half.”

Trickett tossed two touchdowns and extended his string of 300-yard games to seven by throwing for 301 on 28-of-44 passing. He snapped a streak of three straight games with an interception, though Tech safety Keenon Ward dropped a first-half pick.

RUNNING BACKS
Wendell Smallwood gashed Texas Tech in the second half for 83 yards on only eight carries to finish with a career-high 123 yards on 15 attempts. That complemented Rushell Shell, who played the workhorse with two touchdowns and 110 yards on 24 carries.

Those big outputs were a necessity against a Red Raiders run defense that ranked 121st nationally.

“We thought we could have a big run game on them,” said Shell, whose sixth touchdown of the season was a fourth-and-inches surge that tied the game at 34-all with 2:02 left. “We just told ourselves you’ve got to play smash-mouth football and bring it to them.”

How about some love for the fullbacks? Eli Wellman and Cody Clay’s lead blocks sprang Shell’s 12-yard TD, and the junior Clay officially launched his Heisman campaign with a 4-yard run on his first career carry.

RECEIVERS
Bracketed by two defenders, Kevin White was frustrated and said he “had kind of a quiet day.” Texas Tech’s secondary probably used a different description for his 13-catch, 123-yard effort, which included a 26-yard score in the fourth quarter. White also drew another pass-interference flag.

The truly quiet day belonged to Mario Alford, though his second and final catch was a 21-yarder that started WVU’s game-tying drive in the final 4 minutes.

Tech’s deep safeties afforded room for Jordan Thompson to work the middle of the field, and the junior caught six passes for 106 yards. His 56-yard second-half touchdown was a spark that, according to White, “reboosted us when everyone was down.”

Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said Thompson and Daikiel Shorts (32 yards on two catches with one third-down drop) must capitalize when defenses commit to taking away WVU’s outside receivers.

“Kevin’s not going to have 200 yards every game. People are going to take him away,” he said. “That’s when our inside receivers are capable. They’re one-on-one with a linebacker and they need to make a play.”

WVUSports.com/Dale Sparks

Jordan Thompson caught six passes for a career-best 109 yards in WVU’s 37-34 win at Texas Tech.

OFFENSIVE LINE
At 5 yards per carry, the Mountaineers’ line had a serviceable day—though they were facing perhaps the softest defensive front in the conference. Coaches weren’t thrilled with the first-half run-game production, nor the complete lack of poise displayed by senior Quinton Spain, who was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after he walked away from the WVU huddle to bark at the Tech sideline.

Spain headed to the sideline for two plays and appeared to wave off an angry running backs coach JaJuan Seider before offensive line assistant Ron Crook stopped the meltdown.

“He lost his temper, because somebody said something to him,” Crook said. “Any game you’re in, people are going to say stuff to try to make you lose your cool. He lost it for a minute, we got it back, then he went right back in and played his butt off the rest of the game.”

Even Trickett got involved with getting Spain refocused:

“I said you can’t do that—you’re a pro player. And he said, ‘You’re right.’ But it’s tough, because they run their months a little bit, and when you’re 340 you’re not used to backing down.”

Trickett was pressured a few times—usually by defensive end Andre Ross slipping past right tackle Marquis Lucas—and lost the ball on a second-half blind-side blitz by Pete Robertson. That was one of only two negative-yardage plays among West Virginia’s 50 rushing attempts.

DEFENSIVE LINE
With defensive end Dontrill Hyman (knee) injured and nose guard Christian Brown absent for an unspecified reason, the Mountaineers were desperate enough to scrap the planned redshirt of sophomore Darrien Howard.

Despite extended action for Shaq Riddick and Brandon Golson at the ends, the unit didn’t generate much early pressure on Davis Webb. “He had hours of time to throw in the first half,” Holgorsen said. Riddick did make a fourth-quarter sack on Webb, though statisticians incorrectly credited Shaq Petteway.

For a change, Texas Tech really exploited openings on the ground—leading to DeAndre Washington’s 132-yard career afternoon. The 217 rushing yards were the second-most for the Raiders in a Big 12 game since 2004.

West Virginia is allowing 4.8 yards per carry, behind everyone except Iowa State and Texas Tech (both 4.9) in the league.

LINEBACKERS
This group shoulders a lot of responsibility for Texas Tech’s huge rushing effort, though it should be noted the Mountaineers used eight defensive backs on the third-and-10 run that Justin Stockton popped for a 69-yarder.

Davis Webb enjoyed a 348-yard, three-touchdown passing day, though his productivity dipped after WVU began gambling on blitzes throughout the second half.

“That quarterback was executing at a high level there for a while,” said defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. “We finally said to hell with it and started coming after him.”

Among Nick Kwiatkoski’s 11 tackles were two big-time plays. He made a fourth-and-1 stop on Washington early in the second half, and later tracked fullback Rodney Hall for no gain on what looked to be a well designed third-and-goal backside screen.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Tech running back Justin Stockton (8) breaks lose for 69-yard touchdown run against West Virginia on Saturday.

SECONDARY
The open-field tackling was hideous on Texas Tech’s first score—a 34-yard jet sweep by Devin Lauderdale—as Terrell Chestnut, Dravon Henry and the newly reinstated Daryl Worley whiffed.

Safety Karl Joseph made seven solo tackles but endured a difficult day. After missing badly on Jakeem Grant’s 43-yard catch-and-run, Joseph blew an assignment that led to Lauderdale’s 76-yard touchdown catch behind Worley. (“We had a safety who was supposed to be over (Worley), but he got lost,” Gibson said. “He had his eyes in the wrong place.”)

With Tech driving in the final 2 minutes, Joseph also misjudged a wobbly pass that Grant caught flat-backed on the turf for 17 yards.

K.J. Dillon made an interception but had a difficult time tracking pint-sized speedster Grant. (“They have a really good player running across the middle who’s faster than everybody on the field,” Gibson said.)

Though Texas Tech hurt itself with several drops, WVU’s defensive backs performed well enough in man coverage to make Kliff Kingsbury doubt his offense’s ability to convert late in the game. “You should invite that type of coverage, but they came down the let couple drives, got in our face and we didn’t have an answer,” he said.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Josh Lambert’s 55-yard field goal at the horn was the sophomore’s third walkoff kick in his last 10 games—and the second in his home state of Texas. Without such a weapon, West Virginia might be 2-4 this season with a drastically different outlook. Lambert made 3-of-4 on Saturday, connecting from 42 and 38 yards with a misfire from 47.

Worley replaced Thompson at punt returner and fumbled twice on one 3-yard runback.

Ending a three-game stretch of ignominy, WVU’s coverage units did not allow a return score.

After twice pinning Texas Tech deep, Nick ‘OToole has dropped 11 punts inside the 20 with zero touchbacks.

COACHING
West Virginia barely survived a team that has now lost eight consecutive Big 12 games, and any number of circumstances could have altered the outcome and the tone of the season. Yet, Holgorsen stayed patient with his play-calling in the second half and stayed poised in his demeanor—befitting a coach who trusts his offense to recover from a deficit.

Gibson’s defense limited Texas Tech to 6-of-18 on third downs, made two red-zone stands in the second half and brought pressure on Tech’s final drive instead of playing it safe with zone drops. He’s still flummoxed, however, by the mental busts that give way to big gainers.

“Our guys, they stray off a little bit and I think they revert back to what it used to be like,” he said.

Mountaineers fans recall all too well what it was like the past two years, and with Baylor coming to town, Gibson doesn’t want to repeat history.

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Comments

  • jay zoom

    did not see your post truth teller until just now. you remind me of hugs -- maybe you can buy each other a box of KLEENEX for the rest of the season.

  • jay zoom

    Everyone is saying that Marshall hasn't played anybody.. Yet their ranked 24/25 in the polls. (hogwash) Their 6-0 and they deserve the recognition given to them. WEST VIRGINIA hasn't beaten anybody. 3 wins in the last seconds to nobody. (scenario) if WVU played the same schedule as MARSHALL they would be dancing in the streets and burning couches in Morgantown. Get real Mountaineer Nation Marshall is for real that is why OLLIE and DANA won't play them any more. we might squeeze out one more victory this season maybe two..THANKS OLLIE

    • rock solid

      @jayzuum: You have always sucked, you suck now and you always will suck. Stop wasting good oxygen and just disappear. Then you will have contributed to making WVa. a better place.

    • Todd

      If you want people to take you seriously, try demonstrating a basic understanding of the English language. You can start here-http://www.theretheyretheir.com.

    • Zip

      Hint for you , Jay. Have the Herd play Alabama, Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU, Kansas State and Oklahoma State, then have WVU play that pitiful schedule of Marshall's. You'd be puking in the streets and the only thing you would be burning would be your Marsha season tickets. Who's next for Marshall? Bob's College of Auto Repair?

    • Capt. Obvious

      If you are undefeated after 6 games and you barely crack the top 25, your schedule might be in question.

      If you go undefeated all year and aren't mentioned in the NC discussion, you may want to reconsider your scheduling. Hint: Pitt ain't gonna help.

    • Boone

      What kind of recognition does a team deserve when they run the score against non power-5 teams? The only team they've beaten that has won against a power-5 team was Akron, who took down mighty Pitt. Ooo. WVU doesn't deserve a ranking, but I think teams on that list should have to schedule real teams to prove they belong.

  • Nicky the Greek

    Poor Darrien Howard has got the short end of the stick 2 years in a row having to burn his redshirt well into the year...

  • TruthTeller

    Texas Tech was getting by with holding almost the entire game. I was seeing defensive players being pulled to the ground and being tackled and also jerseys being pulled but no call.
    But some times even cheaters don't win the
    game. Third time was the charm. Finally
    we beat that classless Texas Tech team.

    • West by God

      Are you 12? If you will stop posting, I will buy you a new box of crayons.

  • Pat

    Seems we play up or down to the opponent. That's fine as long as we pull out a W in the end. 9 and 3 is still looking pretty good. Four ranked teams left. Lets make some noise!

    • Todd

      What? 9-3? Are you delusional or do you just not follow college football? There is a better chance we end up 4-8. Will that happen? Let's hope not, but be realistic.

    • rock solid

      @ pat: You are as delusional as the ameteurs on Metro sports. Even people with degrees from Marsha are laughing at 9-3 for WVU,and they all have mental challenges. We may surprise one of our future opponents but we are just an average football team in the Big 12. Everybody says we are better than last year. For goodness sakes how could anybody with our pedigree stay as bad as we were last year? Better this year sure doesn't make us a power in the Big 12!

  • Mountaineer Fanatic

    It was a win and that is all that matters. May not have been pretty but we won. We need to fix out minds on Baylor. We can beat them. We get them at home and we are capable of beating them. LETS GOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS!!!!!

    • wsc

      Got to pressure the QB this week!

  • Hop'sHip

    That was pretty informative, Allan. I would say your arrow is up as a post game analyst. Not sure if you turned it around as a forecaster though. I'm not even clear how you are scoring "picking against the spread." Could you or anybody answer the question I posed on the week 7 panel picks? But thanks anyway for your coverage.

  • Dave

    We got a BIG12 win on the road. We fought through adversity and exploded in the 4th quarter. We sucked the air out of the TTU stadium with the 55 yarder. Arrows up for everyone.

    • Boone

      Agreed. Just happy to have finally taken a W from Tech. Had they won again, this would really have started to get into Holgorsen's head.

  • jay zoom

    there won't be many hugs in the coaches booth after Saturdays game just scratching their heads thinking there more of this to come after a Baylor victory. THANKS OLLIE

    • TruthTeller

      Jay zoom is your life really that pathetic?
      You need to find another hobby besides
      being a hater. Why not contribute to life
      in a more positive way instead of being
      a such a terrible person. Find God and
      make your mark and do some good in
      this world before its too late. Make
      your parents proud of you instead of
      them being ashamed.

  • West by God

    We have got to get some D-lineman. Obviously that can't happen until the off season. Please recruit some! Until then Gibson better find ways to keep teams guessing. If he simply lines up and plays vanilla it will be tough to get wins from here on out! BIG 12 QB's make you pay if they know what your doing.

    • Eer's Nation

      I think they're "playing dumb". as in pretending to play poorly.They had their eyes on Baylor they don't want Baylor having tape to study, to figure out how you line up to hide your defense. Its not like Dana or Gibson is going to come out and say that.

      "The 'eers will rise again! "

  • WVU FAN

    Just Win baby!!!!!!!

    at the end of the season we will look up to see what games we as individual units graded out but until then WVU gets an A+ for getting the Win as a team.... This is Big 12 Football....

    Great Job Boys!!!!!!!!

    LETS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
    MOUNTAINEEEEEEEEEERS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • JHT

    Great comeback win. A terrible first half that i really thought they could not overcome due to Trickett overthrowing and the WR dropping it when he did throw it on the money. But, they hung together and somehow found a way to win. Get that down to Baylor and they will loss BIG. Baylor is not TT.

  • Aaron

    Special teams was the only sound part of coaching. If that doesn't deserve trending down, I don't know what does.

    This team has not appeared ready to play the past two weeks and while execution may is on the guys who call the X and O's, not the Frank's and Joe's (did I get that right Ron) the responsibility for having players ready to play is on the coaching. WV did not do that as both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball were out coached. The only way that unit doesn't trend down is if it's already at the bottom.

  • Ducks In A Row

    "For a change, Texas Tech really exploited openings on the ground—leading to DeAndre Washington’s 132-yard career afternoon. The 217 rushing yards were the second-most for the Raiders in a Big 12 game since 2004.

    West Virginia is allowing 4.8 yards per carry, behind everyone except Iowa State and Texas Tech (both 4.9) in the league."

    ^^^ NUTS!

    • TruthTeller

      Another girly man posting. Do you need a tissue?

  • NCWVUFAN

    I give WVU a lot of credit. Down 14 pts in a tough place to play. I know TTU is struggling but to come back the way they did and get the W on the last play of the game says something about this team.

    I thought the best coaching was done at the end when WVU did not sit back and let TTU pick them apart for a potential game winning drive. WVU blitzed and came after them and still stayed focus despite the freakish play where the WR is on his back and the ball literally lands in his lap.

    Lambert was money on the last kick. Overall, a very, very good W. On to Baylor this week.

    Final thought, why is it that when WVU loses it gets overblown (bad coaching, QB stinks; D can't stop anybody) but when WVU wins its almost "swept under the rug" and underappreciated (lucky; opponent was not that good; etc.; etc.). If people knew how hard it is to simply win games, I think they would understand and appreciate what these coaches and players go thru during a season.

    • Rick S.

      You make some good points, NCWVUFAN, but in all fairness, regarding how hard it is to simply win games, there are only two teams in each game and one of them has to win. By sheer chance, in a somewhat evenly matched game, each team has roughly a 50% chance of winning.

      I am certainly not taking anything away from this win, because I give WVU credit for gutting it out and getting it done against a somewhat evenly matched team.

    • TruthTeller

      You should ask almost all of the media people that question. The only time WVU gets any credit or the headlines is when something bad
      happens. I know exactly what you are talking
      about NCWVUFAN. Most of those people are
      Marshall fans only because they are 6-0. LOL!!! Let Marshall play WVU's schedule and their record would be 1-5. Although they might have lost to Towson? WVU just needs to keep winning. The haters are the only ones crying because they don't want WVU to be successful. Its very childish for people to act that but these days look at this crazy world we live today. Its pretty much backwards than the way it should be.

    • West by God

      Your final thought

      I think that is happening because the quality of the opponent. The inability to put four quarters together. The inability to finish in the red zone (cannot win BIG 12 games with field goals). The inability to get out of our own way. If you look at it, WV is the only team to stop WV. I know other posters get mad at us for stating the obvious, but this team has under achieved and it is not because they are not working, it's bad coaching. This team could easily win eight games. If they put 4 quarters together they will be tough to beat. TT scored because of a busted coverage and missed communication. Knowledgeable fans can live with getting out played. What they can't stand is break downs and blown plays. At some point over the season you have to fix your mistakes. This team is slowly but surely regressing. Think about the first two games and the last two games and tell me what you think?

      • Protechcpa

        I think you are spot on. The team rallied in the 4th quarter and I am proud of them for that. I think we were out coached most of the game, our defense is weak again this year, regardless of how you look at it, the O line is still lacking good run blocking and now we have these obnoxious penalties. When this happens, it either means a team cannot compete and has blown its composure or is dirty. Either way, it demonstrates a lack of discipline. When did Holgorsen EVER start the second half with effective adjustments? I cannot recall a single game. Let's hope it all comes together against Baylor.

        • West by God

          AGREE

        • NCWVUFAN

          The 1st game was Alabama and they had all off-season to prepare. If they weren't prepared for that game then something would definitely be wrong. The second was vs. Towson who they should have dominated and did.

          In the KU game, WVU scored on 6 of their first 8 possessions (4 FG's & 2 TD's). They missed a FG on the other. I agree they coasted and seemed disinterested after that and yes, TD's are much better than FG's. D played well all game vs. albeit, a very weak opponent (who BTW happened to give OSU all it could handle for 3 qtrs.).

          Against TTU, could it be that TTU came out and just outplayed WVU in the 1st half? They knew what they had done to WVU the past 2 years and were thinking this was their chance to get a W. TTU scored on 3 consecutive drives and the D made an adjustment to get after Webb. In the 2nd half, TTU and then had one long run and that was about it.

          I know there are known weaknesses on the Offense, Defense and especially S/T and everyone has their opinion as to what they are and what the fixes should be and they are ones I can't argue. But, this team is at least finding a way to win when the prior 2 years they folded under similar circumstances. I just think you have to give the players, and yes, the coaches credit for this to some extent.

          • Aaron

            "Against TTU, could it be that TTU came out and just outplayed WVU in the 1st half?"

            It could be but that begs the question, why? Was TTU that much more motivated for WVU than Alabama and Alabama or was WVU that much less motivated for TTU than they were Alabama and Oklahoma? Given the way they played against Kansas, I have to think it's the latter and that is coaching. This team is not good enough to take anyone for granted yet that appears to be exactly what they've done for the past 2 weeks.

          • West by God

            @ NCWVUFAN

            I do not disagree with you much because I always respect your opinion and you are one of the few. Just like I do today. My only complaint after that win is I feel we are digressing. Week 1 looked better than week 6. It is simply to late in the season for blown assignments, coverage breakdowns, and mental mistakes. If you look at Dana and staff they have done this each year. With all that said WV won and the did it by refusing to lose. So time will tell!

    • WVUTAL

      Everybody's a great coach & perfect play caller... Except they work at Home Depot for $10hr..... Just waiting on their chance to make it to the big league D1......

      & WVU shouldn't it have been that close? They have 3 & 4* recruits just like we do... Play the same offense & play pretty decent D.. Why should we blow them out?

      I have a feeling they'll play pretty close with everyone, like everyone else.... OkState & KU

      • TruthTeller

        You seem to lack common sense like many modern day people. Two teams that are mirrors of one another and you are questioning why the game was back and
        forth and close all the way down to the
        end? REALLY?

      • MonicaMountaineer

        What does socioeconomics have to do with it, dude? You're probably the guy that never tips the hard working, trying to get through school waitresses, while knocking down 120K annually. Besides, what's wrong with working at Home Depot and dreaming of coaching in the big leagues one day. You're a dasher of hopes and dreams as well, I see. Gee whiz, man.

        • WVTAL

          Nothing's wrong with working at Home Depot...but if you do,don't critique decisions by people who have devoted their entire life to their craft & claim they an do it better.... I've played D1. I trust most coaches.... This is what they do, this is why they make the $$ they do.... They didn't wake up after their Home Depot shift, with a call from Ollie asking if they're interested in coaching @ D1 level. Let the coaches coach...


          & TTU has the same amount of 3 & 4* players as we do, so why shouldn't it have been that close?

    • Ducks In A Row

      Point is, this game shouldn't have even been close. It was a great comeback, however.