WVU vs. Texas Tech: Mountaineers outshoot the Red Raiders

By Zippy Zimmerman, RealWV

On a rainy day in Morgantown, Nicco Marchiol, along with the Mountaineer’s defense, stood strong to fend off Texas Tech in spite of an injured Garrett Greene.

The Red Raiders lost their leader early, when quarterback Tyler Shough broke his fibula in his left leg – the type of injury you never want to see happen to anyone – in the first quarter. In his place would come Behren Morton who torched the Mountaineer’s defense for 325 passing yards, two touchdowns, and a 48-10 victory over West Virginia last year in Lubbock. This year however, was not going to be the same story.

On both team’s opening possessions, they would be forced to punt. Following a second West Virginia punt back to Texas Tech, the Red Raiders would strike first with a Gino Garcia 39-yard field goal to make the score 3-0 with 8:40 left in the first. The Mountaineers would combat the Texas offense by putting together a slow, methodical drive which ended with CJ Donaldson plowing his way into the endzone on a two-yard rush giving the Mountaineers their first lead of the night – making the score now 3-7 following the extra point, with 1:37 left to play in the first.

The rain became more of a factor in the second quarter, resulting in dropped passes and missed opportunities for the Mountaineers. Despite the weather, West Virginia was still able to put themselves in good field position due to another amazing performance by the defense. West Virginia would manage to put up two field goals and go into the locker room at the half with a two possession 3-13 lead over the Red Raiders.

Both teams remained relatively dormant offensively in the third, providing strong defensive stands which all resulted in punts for both squads. The Red Raiders would finally get things flowing offensively in the fourth, as Morton would lead Texas down the field on a 13 play, 79-yard touchdown scoring drive. Morton hit Jerand Bradley on a wide open 6-yard touchdown strike. The score in Morgantown was now 10-13, with the Mountaineers still in front. Marchiol and the Mountaineers were determined to answer, however it felt as though Texas Tech had gained a surge of confidence off the score.

On the next West Virginia possession, Marchiol stepped up to prove everything we’d heard about him all offseason to be true. Marchiol guided West Virginia to a seven play, 79-yard touchdown drive hitting tight end Kole Taylor for the score to make it a two-possession game again in favor of the Mountaineers. The score was now 10-20 with 7:33 left to play in the fourth. On the Red Raiders ensuing possession they would strike again, but this time by field goal again cutting the game down to a one possession 13-20 score still in favor of West Virginia.

West Virginia obtained possession following the field goal with 4:48 left to play, but they would get nothing going on offense, and be forced to punt back to Texas Tech giving them 3:45 to drive 72-yards down the field and tie the game. The Red Raiders worked the way down to the West Virginia 11-yard line with 43 seconds left of play. Texas Tech would make four different pass attempts to try and tie the game, and be unsuccessful on all of them. The last attempt was tipped by a member of the Mountaineer defensive line forcing the completion. West Virginia hold on to win 13-20 and advance to 3-1 for the first time under Head Coach Neal Brown.

Photo credit: @wvufootball via. Instagram.

Marchiol played exceptional and provided a lot to the passing attack—which was lacking for the Mountaineers. Marchiol had two interceptions on the day; one was a ball where he openly stated he simply did not see the defender, but the other was a strike that hit center mass on his wideout, and was popped up off his chest resulting in the interception. After the game Coach Brown made mention of the importance of supporting Marchiol offensively. He felt as though there were missed opportunities offensively, and the team as a hole needed to get used to the style Marchiol plays at quarterback.

West Virginia will hit the film room and begin to prepare for a game in TCU next Saturday. TCU is a team that made its way to the national championship game last year, and will be a big test for the Mountaineer defense. We will look to see who will be taking snaps under center for that game again this week. Greene is expected to be healthy and ready to go, but with the value Marchiol provides in the passing attack, it will be a tough decision for the coaching staff. Kickoff for the Mountaineers outing against TCU is set for 8 p.m., in Fort Worth, Texas.

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