Texas Tech Football vs. Montana State University

Junior linebacker Riko Jeffers celebrates during the game against Montana State at 3 p.m. Aug. 31, 2019, at The Jones AT&T Stadium. The Red Raiders outlasted the Bobcats, 45-10.

The Texas Tech football team defeated West Virginia 38-17 in Morgantown, West Virginia on Saturday.

Tech’s win was the first road win of the season after losing to Arizona, Oklahoma, Baylor and Kansas on the road. The win also snapped the Red Raiders’ three-game losing streak, improving their record to 4-5 overall and 2-4 against teams in the Big 12 Conference.

With the absence of junior wide receiver T.J. Vasher, redshirt freshman Erik Ezukanma and sophomore Dalton Rigdon stepped up for the receivers with early big gains in to start the game. Rigdon started the drive with a 19-yard gain, and Ezukanma followed with a 14-yard gain on third down. Ezukanma then recorded a 24-yard completion to put the Red Raiders five yards away from the end zone, and sophomore running back Ta’Zhawn Henry gave Tech an early 7-0 lead with a two-yard rushing touchdown.

On West Virginia’s first drive of the game, Austin Kendall recorded threw to George Campbell for a 50-yard gain. Tech’s defense bounced back from the big gain with a six-yard tackle for loss, forced an incompletion and stopped the run for no gain. The Mountaineers settled for a field goal to cut the Red Raiders’ lead 7-3.

Tech’s offense quickly answered back after junior quarterback Jett Duffey threw to Rigdon up the middle of the field. After completing the pass, Rigdon used his speed to outrun West Virginia’s secondary for an 81-yard touchdown, growing Tech’s lead 14-3 with 7:27 left in the first quarter.

Following the touchdown, the momentum carried over to the defense and senior defensive back Douglas Coleman III picked off a pass from Kendall. The FBS leader in interceptions added another one to his total, making it his eighth interception of the season.

The Red Raiders’ offense moved the ball down the field but faced a fourth-and-one situation as they were four yards away from the end zone. Instead of going for the field goal, head coach Matt Wells sent the offense back on the field and Henry recorded a four-yard rushing touchdown to extend Tech’s lead 21-3.

On West Virginia’s next drive, the Mountaineers moved the ball down the field to Tech’s 31-yard line. After the Red Raiders’ defense forced a fourth down, the Mountaineers kept their offense on the field and junior linebacker Riko Jeffers recorded a big hit on the quarterback, forcing a fumble. Junior defensive lineman Eli Howard hopped on the ball after everyone on the field thought it was an incomplete pass, making it Tech’s second takeaway of the quarter.

After recovering the fumble, the first quarter concluded. At the end of a quarter, Duffey recorded 205 passing yards, completing nine of his 11 passes. Rigdon led the receivers with 100 receiving yards, while Henry led the team with two rushing touchdowns. On defense, the Red Raiders forced two turnovers, one interception and one forced fumble. Senior linebacker Jordyn Brooks led the defense with four tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.

Tech’s offense used the takeaway and turned it into points to grown the Red Raiders’ lead 28-3. After several short and quick gains, redshirt freshman running back SaRodorick Thompson finished the drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown.

As West Virginia was down by 25 points in the second quarter, the Mountaineers recorded their first touchdown of the game to cut Tech’s lead 28-10. The touchdown came off a trick play where Kendall threw to Isaiah Esdale on his left side. Esdale then aired it out to Kennedy McKoy in the endzone for a 24-yard touchdown.

Following West Virginia’s first touchdown of the game, Duffey orchestrated the offense, recording a 24-yard completion to junior tight end Travis Koontz after almost throwing an interception. On the next play, he threw to Henry for a 14-yard gain. With the Red Raiders six yards away from the end zone on third down, Duffey came up short with a four-yard rush. Tech went for it on fourth down, and Thompson ran up the middle to grow the Red Raiders’ lead 35-10 with a little over eight minutes left in the half.

Neither team could add points to the scoreboard in the final eight minutes of the first half. With the Red Raiders leading by 25 points at the half, Duffey led the offense with 271 passing yards, completing 15 of his 20 passes. Both of Tech’s running backs, Henry and Thompson, recorded two rushing touchdowns while Rigdon led the receivers with 106 receiving yards and a touchdown. Although Tech only converted on third down three times in eight attempts, the Red Raiders were a perfect three-for-three on fourth down. Brooks continued to lead the defense with seven tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.

In the third quarter, the Mountaineers moved the ball down the field, getting 11 yards away from the end zone. On fourth-and-six, West Virginia’s offense remained on the field instead of settling for the field goal. An incomplete pass in the end zone resulted in a turnover on downs.

While the Red Raiders could not capitalize on the turnover, the defense stepped up on West Virginia’s next drive. The first big play of the drive came from Howard as he sacked Kendall for an eight-yard loss. Later in the drive, Kendal completed a 10-yard pass to Jovani Haskins, but a big hit by Jeffers knocked the ball loose for his second forced fumble of the game. Brooks scooped the ball up and ran 20 yards on the recovery.

Tech’s offense could not score off of the takeaway, the Red Raiders’ defense continued to show up. After giving up a 47-yard gain off a pass to James, Fields recorded an interception in the end zone and returned the ball for a 34-yard gain. The interception marked Tech’s second of the game and fourth takeaway against the Mountaineers.

Both teams could not score in the third quarter, keeping the score 35-10 in favor of the Red Raiders. With the conclusion of the quarter, Duffey recorded 311 passing yards, completing 21 of his 29 passes. He also threw to eight different players, seven of them recorded double-digit receiving yards. On defense, the Red Raiders forced four takeaways, highlighted by Jeffers’ two forced fumbles. Fields led the defense with eight tackles, two tackles for loss and an interception.

In the fourth quarter, a 12-yard completion to sophomore wide receiver Kesean Carter caused a scuffle between the two teams after Hakeem Bailey slammed Carter to the ground. Senior offensive lineman Travis Bruffy and Henry backed the Red Raider and several penalties were called. Ultimately, all of the penalties off-set each other. Following the scuffle, Duffey connected to Ezukanma for a 15-yard gain, putting the Red Raiders three yards away from the end zone. West Virginia forced a Red Raider fourth down, and redshirt freshman Trey Wolff nailed a 24-yard field goal to grow Tech’s lead 38-10 with 10:20 left of the game.

In the final seconds of the game, Tony Mathis scored a touchdown with a nine-yard completion, cutting Tech’s lead 38-17 with five seconds left of regulation.

As the clock counted down, Tech recorded its first win on the road this season, defeating West Virginia 38-17 on its home field.

Duffey led the offense with 354 passing yards, completing 24 of his 34 pass attempts. Rigdon led the receivers with 106 receiving yards while Ezukanma followed with 70. The run game was led by Henry who recorded 67 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Red Raiders forced four turnovers with two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Brooks led the defense with 11 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss while Fields followed with nine tackles, two tackles for loss and an interception. Jeffers also played a crucial part in the defense forcing two fumbles while recording two tackles for loss, five tackles and a sack.

The Red Raiders will look to carry over the momentum from the win as they are set to take on Texas Christian at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium.

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