The TTU defense held the Mountaineers scoreless for nearly the final 20 minutes of the game, and that allowed the Red Raiders’ offense to score 21 straight points and secure the win.
Texas Tech improves to 7-0 (4-0 in Big 12 Conference play), and the Mountaineers fell to 3-4 (1-3).
West Virginia was able to take an 11-point lead with a little over four minutes to play in the third quarter. However, when given chances to keep the lead or regain it in the final quarter, the Clint Trickett-led offense wasn’t able to get the job done.
"The effort was fine. The will to win was not there," said head coach Dana Holgorsen after the game. "You could tell that in the fourth quarter. We didn’t have the will to knock them out. That’s disappointing. They had the will to win a little more than we did."
Trickett finished 27-of-43 for 254 yards and one touchdown. His top target was freshman inside receiver Daikel Shorts, who had a career-high nine catches for 78 yards.
"It definitely wasn't effort, and we got a bunch of guys who want to win," Trickett said. "I'm not worried about that, but we've got to execute."
After going down by 11, Texas Tech would counter with a quick touchdown, as running back Kenny Williams jumped into the end zone to make it 27-23 with 2:26 to play in the third quarter.
The Red Raiders would regain the lead for the first time since the first half with 9:30 to play, as Williams went in from 1-yard out to make it 30-27.
With a little over seven minutes to play, West Virginia gave the ball back to Texas Tech with a chance to seal the victory. However, WVU’s defense held strong and forced a punt with 6:27 to play.
West Virginia’s offense would go three-and-out, however.
Texas Tech would run the clock down to under a minute with a solid drive capped off by a touchdown from quarterback Davis Webb to tight end Jace Amaro.
Webb was 36-of-50 for 462 yards and two touchowns. Amaro and receiver Brad Marquez had more than 100 yards receiving.
WVU’s defense gave up 573 total yards, 462 of those coming through the air. While the Mountaineers were stout against the run for the most part, they had trouble on Texas Tech’s decisive drive to win the game late in the fourth quarter.
"They probably played a little harder than we did and called better plays than we did," Holgorsen said. "When you end the game with five three-and-outs, that’s as bad as you get on offense in the most crucial time of the game."
West Virginia’s offense was successful for the most part. It gained 437 yards. The running game was the best it has been all season long behind 89 yards from Dreamius Smith and 77 yards from Charles Sims.
"We had them on the ropes at the end of the third quarter, but they made more plays than us," said offensive lineman Pat Eger. "They deserve to win that football game. They dominated the fourth quarter. Hats off to them for doing that."
WVU opened the second half with a solid touchdown drive. An interception by Trickett was nullified due to a pass interference call near the end zone, and on third-and-goal, he found Sims out of the backfield for a touchdown to take its first lead of the game at 20-13. It was a 13-play, 74-yard drive for the Mountaineers.
After an impressive return on the ensuing kickoff, Texas Tech was held to a field goal to cut the WVU lead to 20-16 with 7:24 to play in the third quarter.
The Texas Tech defense couldn’t stop West Virginia again, though, as Trickett led another drive quickly down the field in less than three minutes. Smith scored his second touchdown from 12 yards out to extend the Mountaineers’ lead to 27-16.
Texas Tech took an early lead after a 17-yard touchdown from Amaro, the Red Raiders’ leading receiver on the afternoon.
On the following drive, Texas Tech took advantage of a fumble by Sims with a 32-yard field goal to go up 10-0.
Looking desperate near the end of the first quarter, Holgorsen elected to go on a fourth-and-14 at the TTU 26-yard line. The pass from Trickett fell incomplete.
Tech, however, could only add a field goal to go up 13-0, keeping the Mountaineers within reach.
WVU jumped on the board with 9:01 to play in the second quarter on a 33-yard field goal by kicker Josh Lambert to make it 13-3.
Running toward the end zone on the next drive, Webb was hit by West Virginia linebacker Isaiah Bruce and fumbled. The ball was recovered on the 1-yard line by Bruce to end the scoring threat.
West Virginia took advantage, driving 99 yards for a score – a 38-yard run from Smith to make it 13-10 with 2:04 to play until halftime.
On the ensuing kickoff, Texas Tech turned the ball over again, as returner Austin Stewart fumbled. It was recovered by WVU’s Brandon Napoleon at the 17-yard line. The Mountaineers went into halftime tied with TTU at 13-13 following a 30-yard field goal from Lambert.
Defensively for West Virginia, linebacker Jared Barber led the Mountaineers with nine tackles. Fellow linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski had eight.
"In the fourth quarter, we let them get into a rhythm," said defensive coordinator Keith Patterson. "We got them into third downs, but we couldn't get them off the field ... It's a very fine line between winning and losing."