On paper, this game being a blowout didn’t seem like an impossible outcome, but Tech being on the winning end of one very nearly did. The Red Raiders somewhat limped into the game following a 41-20 home loss to Oklahoma.
Meanwhile, West Virginia was the hottest team in the country following back-to-back wins over ranked Baylor and Texas. They wielded an unstoppable offense led by Geno Smith, the speedy and versatile Tavon Austin, and big-play threat in Stedman Bailey. The Mountaineers looked like a team that would contend for the Big 12 and even national title. They ran into an absolute buzzsaw in Lubbock and this writer is proud to have been in the stands that day to see it.
It was a beautiful day in terms of weather. There was a cool breeze and bright sunny skies for the packed house of 57,328 in attendance. Tech would get the ball first and promptly marched down the field, with Jace Amaro breaking loose for a 39-yard touchdown that got the building rocking. The Mountaineers would attempt to answer, but their drive would stall at the Tech 31-yard-line they failed to convert on fourth down. This handed the ball back to Seth Doege and the Red Raider offense.
Doege took what the West Virginia defense gave him to methodically move the ball down the field on short passes. He even ran for conversions on fourth down and third down on surgically repaired knees. In the red zone, a fade pass to Eric Ward was perfectly placed where only Ward could get it and a beautiful toe-tap put the Red Raiders up 14-0 and the upset watch was on.
This time the Mountaineers would answer, with a 38-yard gain by Tavon Austin that was finished off with a Stedman Bailey 7-yard touchdown reception. The Red Raiders needed to build on a 14-7 lead and looked as if they would do exactly that with big plays to both Alex Torres and Jace Amaro. However, star West Virginia safety Karl Joseph was up to the task this time against Eric Ward. Joseph hauled in a red-zone interception that gave the Mountaineers the ball and a chance to drive down and tie the game with momentum swinging back in their favor.
The Tech defense rose to the occasion to limit the WVU drive to 16 yards and a punt. Not to be outdone, though, the Mountaineer defense forced a three-and-out and punt of their own. In a similar situation as before with WVU having a chance to square things up on the scoreboard, the Tech defense held. WVU turned the ball over on downs on the Tech 18.
It would be all Red Raiders from there. The first play of the drive had Jace Amaro off to the races for a field-flipping 61-yard play. A red zone fade to Marcus Kennard a few plays later took the Tech lead up to 21-7. The Mountaineers would have their following drive stall at midfield and punted. Tech gave the West Virginia defense a heavy dose of both Kenny Williams and Darrin Moore. Moore punching in the TD to balloon the Texas Tech lead to 28-7. The Red Raider defense continued to shut down the Mountaineers, who once again punted for their fourth straight scoreless drive. On Tech’s ensuing drive, Sadale Foster scampered for a 53-yard rushing touchdown, and the rout was fully on. The Red Raiders took an impressive 35-7 lead into halftime.
The Tech defense wasn’t done dominating yet, either. Geno Smith began showing visible frustration as yet another West Virginia drive ended scoreless on a failed fourth-down pass. Tech’s offense did not come out quite as sharp in the second half. Their first drive ended on a fumble to West Virginia. The Mountaineers’ futility against the Red Raider defense continued, however, with yet another turnover on downs. The Red Raiders drove into field goal range on their next possession, but the field goal sailed wide. West Virginia went 3-and-out, and Tech got yet another big play on offense from Jace Amaro. This one would come with a price though. Amaro took a shot to the ribs that sidelined him for the remainder of the regular season. His day was one for the books though, as he finished with 156 yards and a touchdown. Darrin Moore would catch his second touchdown of the day to put Tech up 42-7.
West Virginia would fail to get points for their eighth consecutive drive. This was evidence of the absurd performance by the Texas Tech defense in shutting down one of the most potent offenses in the country. The Darrin Moore show would continue as he tallied his third score of the afternoon to make the score an unbelievable 49-7. The Mountainers managed to score a meaningless touchdown in garbage time against backups for a 49-14 final score. Tech’s defense certainly won the day. The Tech offensive performance of 676 yards and 49 points was no slouch, either. The impact of this game and the connections between the two schools went far beyond this Saturday.
West Virginia’s once-promising season would spiral out of control as they lost their next four games. The old adage about not letting a team beat you twice arguably applied to the extreme here. The Mountaineers never recovered and former Tech WR coach Dana Holgorsen’s head coaching tenure at West Virginia took a different path. Interestingly enough, Tech’s offensive coordinator in this game, Neal Brown, is now the current Mountaineer head coach. His team is quarterbacked by none other than Jarret Doege, the little brother of Seth Doege who starred at QB for Tech on this day in 2012. The Tommy Tuberville era didn’t feature many great performances, but this was undoubtedly one of the best and featured one of the strongest defensive efforts in the modern era of Red Raider football. This was a game worth seeing and worth remembering.