There were plenty of games in the Big 12 that had huge implications for the conference title chase. While everyone was talking about Texas/TCU, Oklahoma/Kansas State or the Baylor/Oklahoma State game, the Texas Tech/West Virginia game should not have been slept on.
Texas Tech came into Saturday down several key starters including quarterback Tyler Shough and wide receiver Erik Ezukanma and fresh off a total beatdown in Austin. Meanwhile, West Virginia was coming off a close lose to Oklahoma in Norman.
Maybe this game did not deserve any hype going in, but this game was huge in terms of where these programs are in the Big 12. I did not expect Texas Tech to walk out of Morgantown with a win but here are my three thoughts from Tech’s 23-20 win over West Virginia.
- A Tale of Two Halves
I know the final score was close, but Texas Tech was all over West Virginia in the first half. In their first four games combined, Texas Tech had just one first quarter touchdown and today they had two as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Tech added a late field goal to make it a 17-0 game going into halftime. More importantly, both sides of the ball were playing well including the defense who held the Mountaineers to just 109 yards in the first two quarters.
The second half was a bit of a different story. West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege came out strong in the third quarter and helped tie the game at seventeen late in the third quarter. Both teams would trade field goals, but it would be Texas Tech will the ball late as kicker Jonathan Garibay would nail a 32-yard field goal with less than twenty seconds left.
2. Should Jarret Doege be West Virginia’s Quarterback Moving Forward?
The first half was a complete dumpster fire for West Virginia offensively. Jarret was just 6 of 8 in the first half with 42 yards passing. The offense went three and out to start the game before Doege fumbled the football deep in his own territory. In fact, West Virginia did not even get to the red zone at all in the first half as they had just 109 yards of offense. I know Doege was replaced in the first half for a little bit by Garrett Greene but most of the offensive woes fall on Jarret Doege.
I will give credit to Jarret because he had a solid third quarter, but it simply wasn’t enough. You can’t put up zero in the first half and expect to win a ballgame. Neal Brown is the man in charge, and he is the one who brought Doege back out in the third quarterback after his bad first half. While he did have a big third quarter, I still believe this offense is just too limited in what they can do in the passing game with him moving forward. Garrett Greene provided a spark to the offense and while he may be a little raw, he is the future. At some point if the Mountaineers keep losing games, a change needs to be made to get this offense running like it should. The talent around the quarterback is there but the problem is who is going to be the quarterback who can utilize that talent?
3. Texas Tech is a Bowl Team
I had Texas Tech to finish ninth in the Big 12 conference before the season started. Even when they got off to a 3-0 start, I had my doubts, and I especially did after they got demolished in Austin a week ago. They walked into Morgantown down their starting quarterback, best receiver and leading rusher and found a way to win a game I did not think they could. Their defense bounced back, and Henry Colombi looked like a better quarterback than what he was a year ago. After the Texas loss, they needed three wins to get to a bowl game. Kansas will be an easy win, but they still would need two more wins and today they got one. If they can knock another Big 12 team off not named Kansas, they will be going bowling for the first time under Matt Wells.