Texas Tech routs No. 5 WVU, 49-14
LUBBOCK, Texas — Jubilant fans stormed the field and fireworks exploded, as Texas Tech upset No. 5 West Virginia, 49-14, on Saturday before 57,328 fans at Jones AT&T Stadium.
It was as big of a win for the Red Raiders as it was potentially devastating for the Mountaineers, whose BCS national championship hopes likely were derailed.
The loss almost certainly will bounce the Mountaineers (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) out of the Top 10. A week earlier, West Virginia had climbed three spots in the polls after defeating Texas in Austin.
“We got outplayed. We got outcoached,” said Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen, who said his team came out flat. “They just played harder than us, which is disappointing.”
“We didn’t come in with the right mind frame,” said senior quarterback Geno Smith, who completed 29 of 55 passes for 275 yards and one touchdown but came up lacking against the No. 1 pass defense in the nation. “No excuses for what happened. I was off. I put 100 percent of the blame on myself.”
The combination of Smith — who entered the game as the Heisman Trophy frontrunner and leading passer the country — along with the Mountaineers’ inability to make an impact defensively led to the 35-point loss.
Seven days after defeating Texas, the Mountaineers looked like a different team.
“We still have an opportunity to win a conference championship,” defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said. “Not too many teams are going to go undefeated.”
West Virginia didn’t have the look of a conference champion. The Mountaineers never led, as Texas Tech built a 35-7 advantage by halftime and 42-7 edge after three quarters.
“They came in really cocky and kind of on the high road,” Texas Tech safety Cody Davis said. “You show them we’re serious and get a jump on them and get the momentum on our side.”
The Mountaineers were held to a season-low point total. They opened the second half facing their largest deficit of the season.
Texas Tech (5-1, 1-1) drove 75 yards to grab a 7-0 lead on the game’s opening drive. Quarterback Seth Doege (32 of 42 for 499 yards and six touchdowns) completed a 39-yard pass to a wide open Jace Amaro for the score.
It was a sign of things to come for West Virginia’s porous defense.
Texas Tech led 14-0 on another Doege touchdown pass. West Virginia made it 14-7 on Smith’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Stedman Bailey. Bailey left the game in the second half with an injury, and his status for next week’s game against Kansas State is unknown.
Smith, however, was unable to produce another score the remainder of the half. Texas Tech’s defensive front consistently applied pressure, and the Red Raiders’ secondary provided tight coverage against what had been regarded as the top receiving corps in the nation.
Texas Tech outscored the Mountaineers 21-0 in the second quarter, putting together touchdown drives of 82, 86 and 67 yards. All told, the Red Raiders had four touchdown drives of at least 70 yards, including a 15-play, 98-yard march in the fourth quarter.
“They were connecting on everything. Every pass they threw was connecting,” said freshman linebacker Isaiah Bruce. “It was definitely frustrating as a defense.”
Poor defensive play hasn’t been a deterrent in previous games because the Mountaineers’ offense had been so productive.
That all changed Saturday.
Without its offense to fall back on, the Mountaineers fell apart.
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.