It has to be comforting for Matt Wells to see West Virginia on the schedule. That’s because, after Saturday’s 23-20 victory over the Mountaineers in Morgantown, Wells is now 3-0 against the Big 12’s easternmost member during his time as Texas Tech football head coach.
When you consider that Wells has won just 12 games at Tech, you realize that a fourth of his wins have come against Neal Brown’s Mountaineers. And that’s significant given that Wells and Brown will be compared against one another for as long as both are at their respective schools.
Remember, there was a sizeable faction of Texas Tech fans that were on board with the idea of hiring Brown to replace Kliff Kingsbury in 2018. Not only had he done a great job while head coach at Troy but he had experience in Lubbock as the offensive coordinator under Tommy Tuberville from 2010-2012.
But Brown didn’t even receive an interview from Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt who went with Wells instead. A few months later, Brown would be tabbed as the man to replace Dana Holgorsen in Morgantown, and almost immediately, Texas Tech fans began comparing him to Wells.
In their first meeting in 2019, Wells’ saw his team jump out to a 21-3 first-quarter lead and a 35-10 halftime advantage on the way to a 38-17 thumping. In that game, Tech forced four turnovers and Jett Duffey threw for 354 yards and a TD to help the Red Raiders claim what would be their final victory of Wells’ inaugural season on the South Plains.
Last fall, Tech got a fourth-quarter scoop and score from corner Zech McPhearson to break a 27-27 tie. The defense would make that lead stand up as Tech would triumph 34-27 at Jones Stadium.
Of course, that was the first career start for Henry Colombi, who had been elevated to QB1 after a completely incompetent performance by Alan Bowman the week prior in Ames against Iowa State. And just as he did this season in his first start of the year, that day, Colombi played well enough to give his team a shot at winning.
And you could argue that he did more than that on Saturday. More than just a bus driver, Colombi made important throws all day long and helped engineer the game-winning drive by finding Kaylon Geiger for a 42-yard pass play that helped the Red Raiders get into position for the field goal that would prove to be the game’s defining moment.
Though he was 23-34 passing for 268 yards and no interceptions, Colombi doesn’t get one of our imaginary game balls. So let’s take a look at who does deserve a game ball for yesterday’s victory and we will begin with a player who had been one of the year’s most pleasant surprises.