The West Virginia Mountaineers secured their third consecutive victory of the season Saturday evening in a battle with the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Led by backup quarterback Nicco Marchiol in his first collegiate start, the Mountaineers fought their way to a 20-13 victory, marking Neal Brown’s first win over Texas Tech during his tenure in Morgantown.
The game had its share of turnovers, with Marchiol throwing an interception that led to a field goal for the Red Raiders early. West Virginia responded with a 13-play possession that ended with CJ Donaldson punching in a touchdown, giving the Mountaineers a 7-3 lead after the first quarter. Kicker Michael Hayes followed up with a pair of field goals to give WVU a 13-3 lead at the half.
Both teams struggled to find consistent offense throughout the second half before the Red Raiders were able to put together a touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter, on the legs of running back Tahj Brooks. Tech backup quarterback Behren Morton capped the drive off with a six-yard touchdown pass to Jerand Bradley to make the score 13-10 with 11:49 remaining.
The Mountaineers managed to put together a critical drive, helped out by a couple of Texas Tech penalties, ending in a touchdown pass from Marchiol to tight end Kole Taylor, making it 20-10.
In the final minutes, Texas Tech attempted to mount a comeback but fell short. The Mountaineer defense stood firm, forcing four-straight incompletions in the red zone to secure the 20-13 victory.
Marchiol finished the day 12-of-21 passing for 78 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, while also leading the team’s ground attack with 72 yards on 15 carries. CJ Donaldson finished with 48 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts. Tight end Kole Taylor had three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown
With a three-game winning streak under their belts, the Mountaineers are building momentum as they head into their first conference game on the road against the TCU Horned Frogs next Saturday night. That game kicks off at 8:00PM Eastern and will be broadcast on ESPN2.