Will Grier threw for 370 yards with three touchdowns, Keith Washington thwarted a rally with 51-yard interception return for a score and No. 12 West Virginia held on for a 42-34 win over 25th-ranked Texas Tech on Saturday.
Marcus Simms had nine catches for a career-high 138 yards — all in the first half — for his third straight 100-yard game. The Mountaineers (4-0, 2-0 Big 12) scored 28 first-quarter points.
Texas Tech true freshman Alan Bowman, the nation’s leading passer coming in, didn’t return after getting injured in the first half when he was sandwiched on hits by Ezekiel Rose and Washington as he threw a pass.
Sophomore Jett Duffey had his first career touchdown pass and TD run filling in for Bowman as the Red Raiders (3-2, 1-1) stayed close after trailing 35-10 at halftime.
With Texas Tech driving for a potential tying score late in the fourth quarter, Duffey’s second interception was a leaping grab by Washington , who returned it for a 42-27 lead.
Duffey kept one drive alive with a 27-yard run on fourth-and-9 when he avoided three rushers on a blitz and cut inside another defender on the sideline when he was still short of the first down.
The Red Raiders pulled within eight when Duffey scored on a 3-yard run . The touchdown was set up by a 35-yard catch by Antoine Wesley , who made the grab after the ball bounced off Washington. Duffey threw for 172 yards and ran for 86.
The Heisman Trophy hopeful Grier had 198 yards passing in the first quarter with a 13-yard scoring toss to Gary Jennings and a 45-yarder to Simms for a 21-0 lead .
Kennedy McKoy capped the quarter for the Mountaineers with a 38-yard touchdown run with 4 seconds left to put the Mountaineers up 28-7. McKoy had 77 yards on 11 carries.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers missed a chance to put away the Red Raiders early and cruise to an easy road win. Grier overthrew two open receivers on deep balls near the goal line, including one on fourth down. David Sills V had a third-down drop late in the third quarter that let Texas Tech keep the momentum after a touchdown drive.
Texas Tech: Coach Kliff Kingsbury, a week removed from an impressive win at then-No. 15 Oklahoma State that vaulted the Red Raiders into the AP Top 25, couldn’t get that breakthrough win over a ranked opponent at home. Since beating No. 24 TCU in Kingsbury’s first year in 2013, Texas Tech has lost eight straight games to ranked visitors.
The Mountaineers could be headed into the top 10 for the first time since 2012, when they reached No. 5 after a 5-0 start before a loss in Lubbock started a five-game skid that led to a 7-6 finish. The Red Raiders’ stay in the rankings could be a lot like it was last year: one week with a loss to West Virginia knocking them out. Texas Tech was 24th before last season’s loss in Morgantown.
West Virginia: Kansas at home next Saturday.
Texas Tech: Open week before trip to TCU on Oct. 11.
Source: The Associated Press