Tech Takes Wind Out of WVU’s Sails - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Tech Takes Wind Out of WVU’s Sails

LUBBOCK, Texas -

Depending on who you ask, West Virginia was blown out of Lubbock by both the gusting winds and the home team that gave the Mountaineers a rude welcoming.

In a game where WVU quarterback Geno Smith came falling back down to earth from the outstanding work he had done through five outings, completing just 52 percent of his passes, there were questions about what could have caused such a drop off in production.

The answers were not all quite the same.

"I've played around here for eight years and it wasn't any windier today," Dana Holgorsen said after his team's 49-14 loss to Texas Tech. "It's a nuisance, but if you let it be an excuse, it's going to mess with you and I think it did."

On Saturday, Holgorsen said, "Geno let the wind affect him."

The quarterback himself, though, disagrees with that notion, despite what he played through on the field.

"Anyone that says that doesn't know football at all," Smith said after a reporter told him Holgorsen had said the wind affected him.

You could have believed that it was the team in Raider red that knew more football in Lubbock with a dominating performance from start to finish and one that left the Mountaineers reeling, searching for answers.

"I give them [Texas Tech] a lot more credit than I give the wind," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said after the game. "They were playing harder than we were. I think that was obvious to everybody that was watching and obvious to everybody in the stadium. We didn't make plays and they did."

Perhaps most frustrating to the players who took the beating was that the week leading up to this game had been an overwhelming success in their eyes. From the time they arrived back in Morgantown from Austin, they felt focused and on top of a game plan that they believed would work.

The end result told a different story.

"We had a great week. It was probably our best week of practice we ever had," said senior cornerback Pat Miller. "So seeing how it happened, we didn't react good. We practiced well, we were doing everything right, everybody was watching film, putting extra work in, it just wasn't our day today."

No player or coach came with a handful of excuses, ready to explain away what had happened on the field as being the result of some anomaly. Texas Tech welcomed the Mountaineers and flat out-played them from start to finish of what amounted to an embarrassment for the league newcomer.

In any moment of hope, whether it be a forced turnover, a defensive stand or simply getting the ball back to the offense on a kickoff, a unit that once seemed unstoppable stalled. Incompletions and tackles behind the line of scrimmage spelled out a day when nothing went right.

"We're not ready for primetime yet, I can tell you that," defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said. "We've got a long way to go in order to get back to playing good enough defense to win this league."

For the defenders, those who have been the target of criticism on a team that relies heavily on its offense, this was the first time their counterparts had not kept them in the game.

Though none on that side of the ball would call out Smith and company after the job they had done through five games, they do admit they were surprised that the offense never got on track.

"At first we were, but I just had a feeling that it was going to pass over and the offense was going to start scoring and the defense was going to start making turnovers, but nothing changed," says Miller. "It just stayed the same way."

Very few aspects of Saturday's debacle can stay the same way if the team hopes to right the ship and push forward to a Big 12 championship.

With a defense that continues to make opposing quarterbacks look like first round draft picks and an offense that finally showed a real chink in its armor, significant regrouping is in store through the next few days as the top-ranked team in the league comes to Morgantown.

"I can say a number of things that I did wrong, but overall it's a team game," said Smith. "We win as a team, we lose as a team. There is no reason to hang our heads."

In truth, there are a number of reasons to hang their heads. But what will define this year's edition of the West Virginia football team is whether or not they actually do and how quickly they can pick their heads back up.

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