Mountaineers put up good battle against Red Raiders

MORGANTOWN – Fans and followers of West Virginia University’s football team might not have known what to expect Saturday when the Mountaineers faced No. 15 Texas Tech.

But Red Raiders head coach Kliff Kingsbury did.

“I knew they (WVU) had to sit around for two weeks on that Baylor loss, and I know what type of coach and motivator Dana (Holgorsen) is,” Kingsbury said following his team’s 37-27 come-from-behind victory on Homecoming Day at Milan Puskar Stadium. “I knew they would bring their best punch. We got up early, but they kept fighting, and I was impressed by their effort.

“They have a good ball club.”

Good, but not as good as the Red Raiders, who improved to 7-0 on the season and 4-0 in Big 12 Conference play.

WVU, now 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12, will have to take to the road over the next two weekends. The Mountaineers are slated to meet defending league champion Kansas State at 3:45 p.m. next Saturday and then heads off to Texas Christian University the following weekend.

“They (TTU) played harder and called better plays,” Holgorsen said. “We called the same plays we did in the last quarter-and-a-half that we did in the first two-and-a-half quarters. The first quarter was bad and the fourth quarter was awful.”

An all-too-familiar scene for Mountaineer fans ever since a 5-0 start in 2012.

“In the third quarter, it resembled offensive football,” Holgorsen continued. “That is what it needs to look like. We got better offensively, but it was in spurts. When you end the game with five three-and-outs, I think everyone can agree that it was as bad as you can get offensively at the most crucial time in the game.

“That is when you look at the defense to step up and make a stop, and help us win.”

Something the unit was able to accomplish in a 30-21 win over Oklahoma State, but was unable to do in a 73-42 thrashing at Baylor and during the final 30 minutes against the Red Raiders.

TTU freshman quarterback Davis Webb, who won Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for his performance in a victory over Iowa State last week, finished 36-of-50 for 462 yards and two touchdowns. His primary target was a name familiar to Mountaineer fans – junior tight end Jace Amaro.

A possible NFL first round pick when he decides to leave Lubbock, Amaro finished with nine receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns. In a 49-14 victory over a then-unbeaten and ranked No. 5 WVU team a year ago, he hauled in five passes for 156 yards and a score.

“It (WVU) is just another team,” Amaro said. “Coach had a great plan for me. It’s not about WVU, it’s about the coaches trusting in me, our quarterback and our offensive line to make plays at the end.”

And, make plays the visitor did as the offense tallied the final 21 points of the game while the defense limited the Mountaineers to 29 total yards and one first down over the final 15 minutes of action.

“Congratulations to Kliff (Kingsbury) and Texas Tech for getting the victory,” Holgorsen said. “It was challenging for them through two-and-a-half quarters, and they had enough fight and will to make enough plays to win the game in the end.

“We did not have that. We felt good mid-third quarter when we were up 27-13, but the game wasn’t over. We refused to make a play on offense, defense, or special teams in the last quarter-and-a-half. We refused to coach well enough to win the game. That will be addressed.”

Holgorsen will have little time to accomplish that feat, however with two road trips on the immediate horizon.