WVU Rallies, Beats First Ranked Team in Three Years - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Rallies, Beats First Ranked Team in Three Years

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By Chris Jackson

West Virginia simply would not lose.

Despite being down 35-17 and trailing No. 24 Texas Tech (4-2, 1-2 Big 12) in most statistical categories, WVU (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) did not give up. It scratched its game plan. It went for it on fourth down. And it overcame an 18-point deficit by scoring 29 unanswered points, securing a 46-35 victory Saturday afternoon at Milan Puskar Stadium.

The win marked WVU’s first win over a ranked opponent since it defeated then-No. 4 Baylor in 2014.

“Things weren’t going great, as we all know, but our guys kept fighting and kept hanging in there,” said WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen. “We finished. We finished for the first time this year in a close game.”

Junior receiver David Sills caught an 8-yard touchdown from redshirt junior quarterback Will Grier, cutting the Texas Tech lead to 35-24. After a defensive stop, Grier found senior Ka’Raun White for a 32-yard score. Add on a 2-point conversion, and it was 35-32.

Then, WVU’s defense made another stop. The Mountaineers got the ball back, and on 4th and 1, went for a play that led to the go-ahead score.

WVU’s offensive line lobbied for the coaching staff to go for it at TTU’s 17-yard line. So, the Mountaineers called a quarterback keeper for Grier, who got just enough yardage to get the first down.

One play later, Grier connected with White for the 17-yard touchdown to make it 39-35 WVU and give them the lead for good.

“Coach Holgorsen was like, ‘are you guys going to get this?’” said WVU redshirt sophomore right tackle Colton McKivitz. “We all kind of gave him like an ‘are you kidding me?’ We’re going to get this no matter what. That was our mindset.”

Texas Tech outgained WVU 513-396 and held WVU to a season-low 44 rushing yards, with senior Justin Crawford going for 47 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. TTU went for 190 rushing yards, featuring 96 yards from running back Justin Stockton.

But Texas Tech kicker Michael Barden missed all three field goal attempts, including a 23-yarder right before halftime that would have extended the lead to 31-17.

“That’s where the game began to turn and guys started lifting up,” said WVU redshirt senior linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton. “You saw that confidence coming back and that swag coming back.”

Grier tied for a career-high five touchdown passes, going 32-of-41 for 351 yards to mark the sixth straight game he’s eclipsed 300 yards. Three of his scoring plays went to Sills, who totaled 89 yards on six catches.

White finished with a team-high 114 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions. It was the second straight game he reached 100 yards, following up a 138-yard effort at TCU.

It was the game White and those around him were waiting for after an impressive week of practice.

“I think just my confidence for the most part,” White said. “Early in the season I was dropping the ball a lot, so every time the ball was coming to me I was like, “I’ve got to catch this. I’ve got to catch that.’ When I see the ball now, I just look it in and try to get upfield.”

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