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Mountaineers Fall Short of Second Half Comeback, 23-20

The West Virginia football team attempted a second half comeback on Saturday after going down big in the first half but ultimately fell to Texas Tech, 23-20.

After going down by 17 points at halftime, the Mountaineers staged a 17 point comeback to knot the score in the third before Tech put it away in the fourth with a pair of field goals.

The Mountaineers began the day in familiar fashion this season by picking off a Kaylon Geiger deep pass down the West Virginia sideline as freshman Sean Mahone came up with the grab at the eight-yard line.

The second Texas Tech drive of the day resulted in a much different way as junior running back SaRodorick Thompson scampered into the end zone from one yard out to give the Red Raiders a one touchdown lead with four minutes left in the first quarter.

The Red Raiders used a total of three quarterbacks on the day, each serving different purposes. Colombi, Geiger and freshman Donovan Smith all saw playing time as Smith was mainly used to rush the ball while keeping it on an 11-yard gain halfway through the first on Thompson’s scoring drive.

The second turnover of the first quarter saw West Virginia’s quarterback Jarret Doege get sacked for a loss of six yards then fumble the rock at the 34-yard line to put Texas Tech in perfect scoring position.

The fumbled turnover put the Red Raiders in perfect position to hand it off to their running back again as Thompson powered in for, yet another one-yard touchdown run to put his Texas Tech squad ahead 14-0 with under a minute remaining in the opening quarter.

The West Virginia offense couldn’t get any momentum going in the opening quarter of action as the Mountaineers only went for a total of 21 yards in the first.

To combat the ugly offensive first quarter, the Mountaineers sent out dual threat quarterback Garett Greene in the second quarter to see if anything could change the struggles. The opening drive of the second quarter saw Greene keep the ball on six plays and rush for 34 yards.

The Mountaineer defense continued to step up in the second quarter as senior defensive lineman Dante Stills pinned back Colombi six yards on third down on Tech’s first drive of the second quarter to force the turnover on downs.

The first half concluded with a Jonathan Garibay 33-yard field goal to extend the Red Raiders advantage to 17 points heading to the locker room.

West Virginia came out of the gates in the second half looking like a completely different offense as Doege found Sam James for a 40-yard connection before Leddie Brown bruised into the end zone on a four-yard touchdown rush to cut the deficit to 10 points.

The next Mountaineer offensive drive saw the team work their way down to the 19-yard line on eight plays before Casey Legg came on the field to boot a 36-yard field goal to make it a one touchdown ballgame.

All three of West Virginia’s third quarter drives saw the team stick the ball into the end zone as Doege found Isaiah Esdale on a post route with a little over a minute remaining before the fourth began. The score knotted the ballgame at 17 points apiece.

West Virginia’s dominant third quarter saw the team go for 207 total yards of offense and convert 10 first downs as opposed to Tech’s 13 total yards of offense and no first downs converted.

The fourth quarter began with what looked like was going to be a show from Colombi after finding Loic Fouonji for a 46-yard completion. However, after the Red Raiders drove down the field, Garibay was forced to kick a 29-yard field goal for the three-point advantage.

With 11 minutes remaining in regulation, the Mountaineers embarked on a 12-play drive only to see it result in a Legg 28-yard field goal to knot the score at 20 points with four minutes left in the game. The drive’s longest play saw Doege hook up with Wright Jr. for a 22-yard completion.

The winning score came with 18 seconds remaining in regulation and the Red Raiders at the 32-yard line as Garibay came on to kick a field goal to provide the Tech victory, 23-20. Texas Tech wasted four minutes off the clock during the drive and allowed no time for a West Virginia downfield attack.

West Virginia will now take the show on the road and take on Baylor next Saturday in Waco, Texas for a 12 pm ET. kickoff on FS1.

Photo by Dale Sparks, WVU

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