Texas Tech aims for better defensive effort vs. West Virginia

Field Level Media

September 29, 2021 at 11:17 am.

Stung by tough losses to open Big 12 play, Texas Tech and West Virginia will bring entirely different strengths into their clash this Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.

After losing at in-state rival Texas, the Red Raiders (3-1, 0-1) will be looking for any kind of semblance of a good defense against West Virginia.

In Austin last Saturday, Texas Tech fell behind by four touchdowns in the first half and could not stop the Longhorns and quarterback Casey Thompson in a 70-35 shellacking.

While Henry Colombi passed for 324 yards and three touchdowns for the visitors, the Longhorns steamrolled Texas Tech to the tune of 639 yards of total offense — 336 rushing and 303 passing.

However, Red Raiders coach Matt Wells stressed success for his whole team, not just one side of the ball, as the club hopes to win its third straight over West Virginia.

“My message to the offense was, ‘We didn’t score enough points,’ ” Wells said Sunday. “That’s the way it will always be around this place. We win as a team, we lose as a team. We lost. We should’ve scored 71.

“But there were times (on defense) we didn’t (play with tremendous effort).”

The Mountaineers (2-2, 0-1) nearly pulled off a major upset of then-No. 4 Oklahoma Saturday night in Norman, but the Sooners squeaked by on Gabe Brkic’s tiebreaking 30-yard field goal as time expired.

While the Mountaineers’ defense frustrated Heisman hopeful Spencer Rattler most of the night — he was booed repeatedly by the home crowd — the offense struggled at times.

It produced just 247 yards, including a paltry 68 on 29 carries. Jarret Doege was efficient in completing 20 of 29 passes but for just 160 yards with an interception.

Mountaineers coach Neal Brown said he would continue to use Doege and Garrett Greene (19 yards passing, 15 yards rushing) in a rotation.

“I think for where we’re at and what we need to do, it’s going to be a mixture of both,” Brown said Sunday. “It’s kind of the way I felt like it was going to be maybe going into the spring and Garrett didn’t materialize like we thought he was going to. But he’s been playing better.”