Football, Local Sports, Sports, WVU Sports

West Virginia escapes with 42-34 win against Texas Tech, game blog

LUBBOCK, Texas — No.12 West Virginia enjoyed an easy first half and a tricky finish to defeat No. 25 Texas Tech 42-34.

Final stats

— West Virginia narrowly outgained Texas Tech 489-463.

— QB comparison: Will Grier 27-of-41 for 370 yards and three TDs. Jett Duffey finished 16-of-27 for 172 yards with one passing TD, two INTs and a rushing TD along with 86 yards on the ground.

Fourth quarter

TOUCHDOWN: Ta’Zhawn Henry 1-yard run (0:38) WVU leads 42-34
Texas Tech gave it a try, Jett Duffey’s 17-yard run putting them in scoring position. (Drive: 9 plays, 42 yards in 2:20)

TURNOVER TOUCHDOWN: Keith Washington 51-yard interception return (2:58) WVU leads 42-27
Texas Tech moved from its 24 to the 47-yard line and seemed to have WVU on its heels, but a Jett Duffey mistake became Washington’s big moment. The cornerback even made Duffey miss on the runback.

— WEST VIRGINIA PUNT: A fifth consecutive scoreless drive for the Mountaineers accomplished little, except for using four-plus minutes. Two negative-yardage plays and a delay-of-game penalty resulted in a third-and-26 pass. It ricocheted off T.J. Simmons and was snatched out of the air by David Sills for a 24-yard gain — still shy of the first down.

TOUCHDOWN: Jett Duffey 3-yard run (7:50) WVU leads 35-27
Texas Tech’s backup quarterback kept making plays, or in this case, giving his receivers a chance to do so. Antoine Wesley hauled in an impossible-looking 35-yard tipped catch over Keith Washington o the sideline. Before fans could even watch the replay to see how it happened, Texas Tech hurried into formation for Duffey’s keeper. (Drive: 6 plays, 61 yards in 2:18)

— WEST VIRGINIA PUNT: WVU started at its own 25 and went backward. A third-and-3 completion to Gary Jennings was negated by a holding call on left guard Josh Sills. On the third-down do-over, Texas Tech’s blitz buried Grier back at his own 14. That made four consecutive scoreless drives for the Mountaineers.

FIELD GOAL: Clayton Hatfield 25-yarder (12:31) WVU leads 35-20
Jett Duffey’s wild 27-yard keeper through the WVU defense will provide Tony Gibson ample fodder in the film room next week. Duffey nearly finished the series with a TD pass to Antoine Wesley, but Washington disrupted the throw in the end zone. (Drive: 12 plays, 71 yards in 3:06)

Third quarter

— WEST VIRGINIA PUNT: WVU should’ve converted a third-and-12 but David Sills dropped a 26-yard gain. Still no points this half for the Mountaineers.

TOUCHDOWN: De’Quan Bowman 2-yard pass from Jett Duffey (3:02) WVU leads 35-17
Texas Tech’s backup quarterback showed some mettle, completing a fourth-and-5 pass under pressure to Antoine Wesley for 6 yards. He also ran for 12 yards and executed a nice option pitch for Ta’Zhawn Henry’s 8-yard gain to the 1. Key play in the drive was Josh Norwood’s targeting ejection on a sideline hit against Ja’Deion High. The WVU cornerback must sit out the first half against Kansas next week. (Drive: 11 plays, 64 yards in 3:53)

— WEST VIRGINIA MISSED FIELD GOAL: Moving from their own 12 to the Tech 36 gave the Mountaineers a chance for Evan Staley on a 53-yarder. With a mild breeze at his back, it landed wide left. The highlight was a 28-yard catch on which Trevon Wesco ran over one tackler and dragged a couple more.

— TEXAS TECH PUNT: The Red Raiders moved past midfield but Josh Norwood broke up a third-and-9 pass intended for High.

— WEST VIRGINIA PUNT: Not the sharpest of drives for the Mountaineers, with two incompletions and an illegal man downfield flag.

— TEXAS TECH PUNT: The running of Tre King gave the home team some brief momentum. On back-to-back plays, Dravon Askew-Henry delivered a blitz knockdown on Jett Duffey and a TFL on an end-around. Then came another sack with Dylan Tonkey and Jabril Robinson combining.

Halftime notes

— QB comparison: Grier is 21-of-29 passing for 278 yards and three TDs. Bowman is 9-of-20 for 123 yards with one TD and one interception.

— Simms has nine catches on nine targets for 138 yards.

— West Virginia has outgained the Red Raiders 382-181, going 6-of-8 on third downs.

Second quarter

— TEXAS TECH TURNOVER: Sophomore Jett Duffey entered at QB for the Red Raiders and made two underneath completions before centerfielder Kenny Robinson picked off a deep toss at the WVU 20 and returned it 42 yards. Because Robinson was hit with a post-play unsportsmanlike flag, the field position became less tantalizing, moving from Tech’s 38 back to WVU’s 47. Grier knelt away the final 10 seconds

TOUCHDOWN: Gary Jennings 14-yard pass from Will Grier (1:08) WVU leads 35-10
A back-shoulder throw was too perfect for Douglas Coleman to defend at the goal line. On the drive, WVU twice converted third downs — a short-yardage variety on a run by McKoy and a third-and-7 on which Simms got 12 over the middle. (Simms had man coverage because two DBs bracketed Sills on a deep-corner route.) Simms is having a monstrous first half, already securing his third straight 100-yard day. (Drive: 12 plays, 72 yards in 4:08)

— TEXAS TECH PUNT: A three-and-out with three incompletions by Bowman. The final featured a downfield breakup by Josh Norwood on Kesean Carter. (And in the pocket, Ezekiel Rose and Keith Washington sandwiched Bowman.)

— WEST VIRGINIA FAILED 4TH DOWN: It was the ideal call on fourth-and-4 from the Tech 32, but Grier missed a sure TD when he overthrew Jennings behind the cornerback. Simmons made a nice 18-yard catch-and-run early in the drive, but three Leddie Brown rushes netted minus-1 yard.

FIELD GOAL: Clayton Hatfield 25-yarder (9:38) WVU leads 28-10
West Virginia made Texas Tech turn methodical, and though the drive produced three points, you have to think Tony Gibson was relieved. The defense nearly produced a fourth-and-1 stop before Demarcus Felton fought through traffic for 3 yards to the WVU 35. Almost a Bowman-to-Bowman connection on third-and-goal from the 7, but Alan threw too high for De’Quan in the back of the end zone. (Drive: 14 plays, 76 yards in 5:26)

First quarter

TOUCHDOWN: Kennedy McKoy 38-yard run (0:04) WVU leads 28-7
Simms caught two passes, the second of which converted a third-and-2 for 16 yards despite defensive holding. With Texas Tech’s defense fearing the Grier, a slow-developing draw play popped McKoy loose and his weave through the secondary led to his third touchdown of the season. West Virginia capped the first quarter with 279 yards. (Drive: 6 plays, 75 yards in 2:02)

TOUCHDOWN: Antoine Wesley 40-yard pass from Alan Bowman (2:06) WVU leads 21-7
Threatened with an early blowout, Texas Tech found its stride with Bowman connecting on three straight completions. He hit Wesley on an 11-yard sideline route against Washington, and then High over the middle for 14. Then the 6-foot-5 Wesley beat Washington deep on a go route. (Drive: 4 plays, 65 yards in 0:57)

TOUCHDOWN: Marcus Simms 59-yard pass from Will Grier (3:03) WVU leads 21-0
Simms made a nice underneath catch and then burned his corner deep on a beautiful throw from Grier. (Drive: 3 plays, 68 yards in 0:55)

— TEXAS TECH PUNT: After an offensive holding flag, cornerback Keith Washington made several nice plays in pass defense.

— WEST VIRGINIA PUNT: Moving from its 25 to the Texas Tech 32, WVU looked to cash in again. But Jennings dropped a seam-route, and on fourth-and-inches Yodny Cajuste was flagged for a false start. On fourth-and-6 from the 37, Holgorsen settled for the punt. Billy Kinney pinned it at the 12, but a coverage-team facemask penalty on Jeffery Pooler moved the ball out to the 27, netting only 10 yards.

— TEXAS TECH PUNT: A three-and-out courtesy of Ja’Deion High dropping a quick out at the sticks.

TOUCHDOWN: Leddie Brown 1-yard run (8:06) WVU leads 14-0
Robinson’s interception made for a short field, and Grier capitalized with 3-of-3 passing on quick throws. One of them converted a third-and-1 at the Tech 8, where Jennings took advantage of a too-generous cushion from the defender Coleman. That was a gifted 7-yard pickup that led to Brown’s plunge a play later. (Drive: 6 plays, 39 yards in 2:07)

— TEXAS TECH TURNOVER: After High caught a 14-yard crossing route to convert a third-and-7, Bowman threw behind him on a slant, leading to a tipped interception by Kenny Robinson. A 13-yard return set up WVU at the Texas Tech 39.

TOUCHDOWN: Gary Jennings 13-yard pass from Will Grier (12:21) WVU leads 7-0
A T.J. Simmons 43-yard gain transpired when WVU set up a receiver twist that left linebacker Dakota Allen exposed in man coverage. Grier went 4-of-6, with the lone running play of the series coming on a Jet sweep handoff to Tevin Bush for 7 yards. On the scoring play, Grier faked the RPO handoff and fired a slant pass to Jennings, who made the grab despite being bumped early by cornerback Douglas Coleman. (Drive: 7 plays, 75 yards in 2:39)

Pregame notes

— Joe Brown, one-half of the right guard platoon, is out today. That could mean extra snaps for Chase Behrendt and perhaps a cameo by Isaiah Hardy, whose only snap this season (against Tennessee) was embarrassing.

— No running back Alec Sinkfield at warmups for West Virginia. Sinkfield hasn’t played since injuring his ankle against Youngstown State, though he was on the sideline last week and not sporting crutches or a boot.

— It’s 61 degrees at kickoff, but expected to warm considerably throughout the game. The wind isn’t as big a factor as it has been in previous trips here.

— Saw Marcus Simms “ralphing” during pregame drills. Trainers kept plying him with liquids and he resumed warmups.

— Our MetroNews staff picks from Friday. I chose West Virginia 40-33.