Texas Tech DL Tony Bradford commits a penalty that gives WVU a jumpstart
The moment when this game hung in the balance came early in the fourth quarter. Tech had just scored its only TD of the day to cut the WVU lead to 13-10 and it looked as if a win was increasingly possible.
At that point, the Red Raiders were set up to seize control by getting a stop and then following that up with another score to take the lead. WVU had punted on its first three drives of the second half managing only one first down in the process.
Thus, things were looking up for the Red Raiders after a long day of fighting against the tide. However, Tech’s momentum was quickly killed thanks to a penalty on a player who is one of the leaders of the roster.
With WVU starting the drive at its own 21, Tech finally generated some pressure in the pocket and flushed Mountaineer QB Nicco Marchiol out. However, the Red Raider who disrupted the play, Tony Bradford Jr., reached out and grabbed Marchiol by the facemask as the QB scrambled.
The ensuing penalty would take the ball all the way to the WVU 36 and set in motion what would be the game-winning TD drive. Had Bradford been able to complete this sack, WVU would have faced a 2nd-and-long deep in its own territory and the Red Raider defense likely would have been able to get the ball back to the offense with an opportunity to take the lead.
Instead, eight plays later, the home team would find the endzone. Also, keep in mind that WVU would manage to run a critical 4:16 off the clock on the drive as well.
On the day, Tech was penalized nine times for 96 yards while West Virginia was flagged only three times for 20 yards. Always remember that the officiating tends to be uneven in Morgantown for some reason, regardless of the sport and this game was a prime example of that phenomenon.
There were other penalties in this game that might have been even more impactful, including a pass interference on C.J. Baskerville in the endzone later on a third-down play to keep the Mountaineers in business. However, the personal foul on Bradford seemed to give a struggling WVU offense the jolt it needed to get its only points of the second half.
In fact, for the entire half, the Mountaineers wouldn’t even pick up a first down without the help of a Red Raider penalty. However, two Tech penalties on WVU’s only second-half scoring drive would spell doom for Tech, and Bradford’s mistake would be a big moment in helping West Virginia get out of neutral just long enough to put the game out of reach.