Texas Tech went to West Virginia without some key starters and secured their first conference win of the season beating the Mountaineers 23-20 to move to 4-1 on the season.
Texas Tech certainly looked like a different team today than they did last week. After being without their starting quarterback, their leading rusher, leading receiver, best offensive lineman, and multiple guys on defense, you would think Tech would struggle.
Tech started out the game with the ball and put together a nice opening drive until they tried a little trickery and wide receiver Kaylon Geiger was picked off by Safety Sean Mahone.
Tech would force the punt and get the ball back and drive down the field and take the early lead after the one-yard touchdown run by running back SaRodorick Thompson to go up 7-0.
The defense was a key part in today’s win and showed it on the next West Virginia drive after linebacker Colin Schooler sacked QB Jarret Doege to force the fumble which would be recovered by defensive tackle Devin Drew.
With the short field, Tech would utilize the run and pass game and work their way down for another one-yard touchdown run by Thompson to give Tech the early 14-0 lead going into the 2nd quarter.
This was certainly the way Texas Tech needed to start this game after last weeks’ massacre against Texas.
The second quarter was a defensive battle, and punts forced both ways, but Texas Tech would force a turnover on downs halfway through the second after LB Riko Jeffers put pressure on Doege to force the incompletion.
Tech could not capitalize off of this and would be forced to punt to give the ball back to the Mountaineers.
West Virginia would also force the punt late in the half giving Tech the opportunity to put points on the board before going into halftime.
After a nice two-minute offense from quarterback Henry Colombi, Texas Tech would put themselves in position for a Jonathan Garibay field goal who would convert a 33-yard field goal to extend Tech’s lead 17-0 going into the half.
Coming out of the half, the West Virginia offense finally started to turn it on and show signs of life after being nonexistent in the first half.
The Mountaineers would drive down on their opening drive and score pretty quick after running back Leddie Brown took it in from four yards out to close the Texas Tech lead 17-7.
Tech’s offense would sputter coming out of half going for negative five yards on their opening drive, forced to punt back to West Virginia who is started to shift the momentum.
West Virginia would put together a nice drive but Tech’s defense would step up in the red zone and force the Mountaineers to attempt the field goal.
Kicker Casey Long would knock it through from 36-yards out to close the gap and only be down by one score 17-10.
Texas Tech really struggled to get anything going on offense in the second half and would once again go three-and-out and punt it back to West Virginia.
West Virginia’s offense on their next drive was all Doege to receiver Isaiah Esdale who had a 55-yard reception to get them in scoring range and would be finished off after Doege completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Esdale to tie the game at 17 a piece going into the 4th quarter.
Starting the fourth quarter with the ball the Texas Tech offense finally woke up after Colombi completed a 46-yard pass to WR Loic Fouonji to get Tech down the field.
Tech would be forced to put the take the field goal and would be good from 29-yards from Garibay to give Tech the lead back 20-17 early in the fourth.
West Virginia would put together a 13-play, seven-minute drive to go down and answer back with a field goal of their own after long knocked it through from 28 yards to tie the game at 20-20 with 4:34 left in the game.
Tech would have the ball with a chance to go down and win the game late in the fourth. They would get a nice start to the drive after Colombi completed a 42-yard pass to Geiger to get them into field goal range.
The Red Raiders would just ride Thomspon the rest of the way using as much clock as possible. It was tough for West Virginia since they only had one timeout left and would use it with 0:22 left in the game.
Garibay would knock through his third field goal of the night from 32-yards to give them the lead back 23-20. Garbay finished the game 3/3 on field goals.
West Virginia would get the ball back with 0:18 left and after a 29-yard pass from Doege to Esdale, he would throw the ball out of bounds on the last play securing the win for Tech.
Colombi was efficient in his first start this season after taking over for Shough who will remain out with a broken collarbone till November. He finished the game 23/34 for 266 yards and no turnovers.
Thompson finished the game with 12 carries 48 yards and two touchdowns. Geiger led all Tech receivers with 7 receptions for 82 yards.
This was an impressive win for Matt Wells and his staff after what happened last week. You could tell these guys were playing for their head coach who has been under a lot of scrutinies over the last week. Tech is 4-1 and 1-1 in conference and perfect position to make a run and earn a bowl game.
It would not be a win in West Virginia without a little John Denver played in the locker room after the big win.
Texas Tech will host TCU who is 2-2 on the season, next weekend at Jones AT&T Stadium with kickoff set for 6:00 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.