Texas Tech rallies for 37-27 win over WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — There are reasons why some teams win and others lose, and Texas Tech's 37-27, come-from-behind victory against West Virginia before 54,804 fans at Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday afternoon was the perfect example.
Perhaps it is best explained in comments from each head coach.
“Fortune favors the bold,” said Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech's first-year head coach.
“We didn't have the fight and the will to want to win,” said West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen.
That provided the essence of a game that West Virginia could have won, believes it should have won, but didn't win because it shut down at the end while true freshman quarterback Davis Webb and tight end Jace Amaro simply outfought the Mountaineers down the stretch.
The unbeaten Red Raiders, ranked 16th in the nation, trailed 27-16 late in the third quarter before scoring 21 unanswered points on two 1-yard touchdown runs by Kenny Williams and a 10-yard TD pass from Webb to Amaro to put away a seventh consecutive victory.
Webb completed 36 of 50 passes for 462 yards and two touchdowns without an interception.
“We're not 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.”
“I can't believe the efficiency with which that guy throws the ball,” said WVU defensive coordinator Keith Patterson. “It looks like he's been the starting quarterback since Aug. 1.”
Instead, it was Webb's second start, replacing Baker Mayfield, who injured his knee against Kansas.
Amaro, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound tight end, was no secret to West Virginia coming into the game. A year ago, he caught five passes for 156 yards and a touchdown against them before exiting for the season with an injury.
In this game, he caught nine passes for 136 yards and both of Webb's TD passes.
“He said to put it on his shoulders for the second half, so that's what I did,” Kingsbury said. “I told him we were going to get a lot of balls to him. When they went up by 11, the ball went his way and he kept making plays. His size, speed and determination are a deadly combination.”
“He's a matchup nightmare,” Holgorsen said.
WVU's ground game took control of the game through the second and third quarters, as Dreamius Smith made two strong runs of 38 and 12 yards for touchdowns, finishing as the game's leading rusher with 89 yards.
Clint Trickett completed 27 of 43 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown for West Virginia.
Late in the third quarter, WVU led, 27-16, but the Red Raiders had all the answers the rest of the way.
“They had enough fight and will to make enough plays to win the game in the end. We did not have that,” Holgorsen said. “We felt good mid-third quarter when we were up 27-16, but the game wasn't over. We refused to make a play on offense, defense or special teams the last quarter and a half. We refused to coach well enough to win the game. That will be addressed.”
The Red Raiders roared back, driving 80 yards to score on a 1-yard run by Williams to make it 27-23.
Another 1-yard burst by Williams early in the fourth quarter regained the lead for Texas Tech, and then Amaro caught his second TD pass with 61 seconds left to clinch it.
Bob Hertzel is a freelance writer.