The Mountaineers endured their third defeat of the season this year to Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon in a game in which both the offense and defense seemed to be missing in the first half.
The second half deemed to be a different story as West Virginia delivered with 17 unanswered points in the third quarter but ultimately was not able to put the ballgame away as the Red Raiders won it with a couple of field goals in the fourth. West Virginia head coach Neal Brown met with the media following his team’s loss and explained what happened.
“First half, inexcusable, apologize to the fans, pissed on how we played first half, we weren’t ready to go, energy level was exceeded by theirs and not good enough, gave ourselves a hole that we struggled to dig out of. Proud for how our guys competed in the second half, that’s how we should play at all times,” Brown said. “I appreciate the fans for staying in the game and what it came down to is we need to score a touchdown when we had it in the red zone. We had to kick a field goal and weren’t good enough on the last drive and that’s what it came down to.”
Texas Tech did show signs of a really good team the whole day after running back SaRodorick Thompson rushed in for a pair of touchdowns in the first half and the defense held Jarret Doege and the Mountaineer offense off the field.
“They (Texas Tech) did a good job, they got us outflanked a couple times, they made some plays on balls down the field, again I thought their energy level was better than ours, they converted some third downs there early in the contest,” Brown said. “They ran the ball early on us, we shut it down until the last drive, but they had some success with that.”
After scuffling through the first half and being unable to put up any points on the board for the West Virginia offense even after using two quarterbacks, Doege cleaned up his mistakes and provided a stronger second half under center.
“If people want to get pissed at me that’s fine, I’m fine with that but that kid played well in the second half, he (Doege) played well,” Brown said. “What was he 25 of 33 for 318 (yards), you know what I mean and most of that was in the second half, they want to be upset with all of us in the first half, fair, I thought he played well in the second half.”
If you can’t tell by now, the first half was West Virginia’s nemesis on Saturday and was very well the reason for the game concluding the way it did. The offensive line was one of the main pieces that struggled on the day and coaches and players alike explained that it came down to energy and communication.
“There was not a phase of our football team that played well in the first half, not a phase. We did better in the second half,” Brown said. “I thought they competed, we played Jordan White a lot in the second half, it’s hard to say until you watch the film but offensively we played much better in the second half and I thought we protected better, still we have a couple negative plays, had a couple bad holding penalties but we were better.”
Even after good practices throughout the week in preparation for the Texas Tech game, Brown and his team were surprised they came out of the gates the way they did on Saturday.
“It caught me off guard,” Brown said. “We practiced well on Tuesday and Wednesday, that’s usually a good indicator but we did not play well in the first half and that’s not going to be good enough and I told our team that, I told our staff that, it’s not good enough, we battled back and that’s a credit to everybody involved but what we put out there in the first half, that’s not going to be good enough.”
Brown and his troops will now have six days to prepare for another Big 12 team from Texas in Baylor as West Virginia will look to clean up their first half struggles and any other areas his team may be lacking.