MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen would like to forget his team’s dull effort down the stretch.
The Mountaineers built a double-digit lead but managed little offense over the final five possessions and fell to No. 16 Texas Tech 37-27 on Saturday.
“I think everyone can agree that it was as bad as you can get offensively at the most crucial time in the game,” Holgorsen said.
West Virginia led 27-16 late in the third quarter before things fell apart, punting on four consecutive possessions that allowed Texas Tech to take over. The Red Raiders scored the final 21 points of the game.
“Hat goes off to them,” linebacker Jared Barber said. “They just wanted it more in the second half. We were at the right position at times and couldn’t make plays.
Davis Webb threw for 462 yards to become the first Texas Tech freshman to surpass 400 yards passing in his first two starts and the Red Raiders (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) moved into sole possession of first place in the conference.
At a school that’s seen three different quarterbacks reach 5,000 yards passing in a season — including head coach Kliff Kingsbury — and three others surpass 4,000 yards, those passers accomplished little as freshmen or redshirt freshmen.
Webb broke the school freshman single-game record of 422 yards set by Billy Joe Tolliver against TCU in 1985 and surpassed the 415 yards Webb had last week against Iowa State.
For the day, Webb completed 36 of 50 passes, including a pair of 10-yard scoring passes to tight end Jace Amaro.
“It’s encouraging to have a young QB like that and have guys step up around him and make those plays,” Kingsbury said. “It bodes well for the future.”
Fellow Texas Tech freshman Baker Mayfield, who missed his second straight game with a twisted knee, had 413 and 367 yards in his first two games this season, respectively.
Kingsbury, who doesn’t let freshmen talk to the media, said Webb’s work ethic steadily improved after he wasn’t chosen to start the season.
“The more reps he gets, the better he gets and the more confidence he gets,” Kingsbury said.
Texas Tech’s Ryan Bustin kicked three field goals and Kenny Williams had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs, including the go-ahead score with 9:20 left in the game.
Dreamius Smith ran for two touchdowns for the Mountaineers (3-4, 1-3), who punted on four straight possessions in the second half to let Texas Tech take over.
Kingsbury got a win in his first head-to-head matchup as a coach against Holgorsen.
“We refused to coach well enough to win the game,” Holgorsen said. “And obviously that will get addressed.”
Kingsbury was the Red Raiders’ quarterback from 1999-02. Holgorsen was the team’s wide receivers coach from 2000-04 and added offensive coordinator duties from 2005-07. Holgorsen is credited with helping Kingsbury join him on Kevin Sumlin’s staff at Houston in 2008.
West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett, starting his third straight game, continued to be plagued by accuracy troubles and a habit of floating the ball up for grabs downfield. His receivers bailed him out at times and he finished 27-of-43 for 254 yards.
Instead, West Virginia found success in its running game against the Big 12’s top rush defense.
West Virginia found the end zone on its first two drives of the second half. Smith followed a block from Charles Sims and slipped through a crowd around left end on a 12-yard scoring run put the Mountaineers ahead 27-16 late in the third quarter.
But West Virginia generated little offense the rest of the game.
“The effort was fine,” Holgorsen said. “The will to win was not there.”
Trailing 27-23, Webb found Amaro for a 37-yard completion and Brad Marquez for 16 yards early in the fourth quarter to set up Williams’ second straight short scoring run.
The outcome was still in doubt until Webb found Amaro with a 10-yard scoring pass with a minute left.
“He’s always very composed at the line of scrimmage,” Amaro said of Webb. “He’s been able to drive down the field when we’ve really needed it and that really helps us have a lot of confidence in him.”
Amaro, who also had a 10-yard TD catch in the first quarter, finished with nine catches for 136 yards — his sixth straight game with at least eight receptions. He increased his league-leading catch total to 56. Marquez had eight catches for 112 yards.
Texas Tech jumped ahead 13-0 but lost two second-quarter fumbles that allowed the Mountaineers to tie it at halftime.
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