Texas Tech football: Red Raiders snap losing streak in Morgantown

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Raider Red, the mascot of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, poses for a photo before a game against the Texas Longhorns at Jones AT
LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Raider Red, the mascot of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, poses for a photo before a game against the Texas Longhorns at Jones AT /

The Texas Tech football team put an end to its 3-game losing streak and the program’s 5-game losing streak to West Virginia with a 38-17 Saturday in Morgantown.

The offense found the endzone on its first five possessions and the defense came up with four takeaways as the Texas Tech football team dominated West Virginia for a 38-17 victory Saturday in Morgantown.  The win snapped Tech’s three-game losing streak and was the first victory for the Red Raiders over the Mountaineers since 2013.

Jett Duffey was 22/34 passing for 354 yards and a an 81-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Rigdon, the longest play from scrimmage for the Red Raiders in 2019.  Meanwhile, both Ta’Zhawn Henry and SaRodorick Thompson had two rushing touchdowns as the Red Raiders jumped out to a 35-10 halftime lead.

The difference in this game and previous Texas Tech contests was that the offense was able to make the extra possessions the defense gave them count.  In the first half, the Red Raiders took the ball away on a Douglas Coleman interception, his 8th of the year to lead the NCAA and an Eli Howard fumble recovery that came after a strip-sack of WVU QB Austin Kendall by LB Riko Jeffers.

The Red Raiders turned both of those takeaways into touchdowns, something that the offense has struggled to do with any regularity this season.

Jeffers was fantastic five with tackles, a sack, and two forced fumbles.  Meanwhile, his partner at LB, Jordyn Brooks had a team-high 11 tackles with 2.5 of those for loss.  They led a Texas Tech defense that gave up 549 yards to a WVU offense that came into the game averaging a Big 12 worst 301 yards per game.

But turnovers and red zone defense were how defensive coordinator Keith Patterson’s unit made its living.  On five red-zone possessions, WVU kicked one field goal, was intercepted, and surrendered the ball on downs twice.  Their lone red-zone TD came on the final drive of the game with Tech up 38-10 and the game already decided.

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This game was essentially put to bed by the middle of the second quarter.  A 2-yard Ta’Zhawn Henry TD run capped off an 11-play opening drive to give Tech the lead for good.  The sophomore RB had 67 yards on 22 carries as he shouldered the bulk of the load on the ground after Thompson left the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury in the second half.

Tech’s second score was the 81-yard pass to Rigdon that came after WVU kicked a field goal on its first drive of the day.  After the Coleman pick, Henry found paydirt from four yards out to put Tech up 21-3.

On Tech’s next possession, which came after Howard’s fumble recovery, Thompson scored on a one-yard run for a 28-3 lead.  He then scored from two yards away to help Tech answer a WVU TD and essentially put the game away at 35-10.

In Tech’s first five drives, the offense ran up 337 of the 481 yards it would accrue on the day.  It was the second-straight game that Matt Wells’ team jumped out to a multi-score lead.

But unlike in Lawrence two weeks ago, when Tech held a 17-0 lead in the second quarter, the defense made enough plays in Morgantown to keep the lead safe.   Tech held WVU to just 6-15 on third down and 1-5 on fourth down, two areas where the Red Raiders struggled against the Jayhawks.

This was a win that the Red Raiders and their head coach desperately needed.  Following a week of controversy for Wells and facing the prospect of falling into last place in the Big 12 all by itself, the Red Raiders came up with their first road win of the year.

Now, there is at least hope that this team can get to six wins and reach a bowl.  With back-to-back home games against TCU and Kansas State up next, the Red Raiders have an opportunity to extend their season before they have to head back out on the road to wrap up the season in Austin.

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There will be plenty to digest from this win and more to look forward to for next week including a potential QB decision for Wells to make as Alan Bowman was dressed out today but did not play.  But for now, let’s all just enjoy a victory Saturday, the first one in a month.  Here lately, those have been tough to come by.