Kingsbury's Signature Win…So Far

Words are practically incapable of describing how impressive Texas Tech's 37-27 win over West Virginia is. The world of the college football pundity, almost as one, declared the Red Raiders overrated and ripe for the upset. Even many a Red Raider fan—including yours truly—was very worried about this game. Tech was officially the favorite, but it felt like they were the underdog.

Words are practically incapable of describing how impressive Texas Tech's 37-27 win over West Virginia is. The world of the college football pundity, almost as one, declared the Red Raiders overrated and ripe for the upset. Even many a Red Raider fan—including yours truly—was very worried about this game. Tech was officially the favorite, but it felt like they were the underdog.

But Kingsbury's boys were having none of it. Fully confident in their abilities, they entered a hostile stadium heretofore unvisited by a Texas Tech football, and were unfazed by the 60,000 enemies in the stands and the hype of a homecoming atmosphere.

The Red Raiders were focused from the beginning. Under these circumstances, one might have expected the Mountaineers to land an early Sunday punch or two, but it was Texas Tech that came out swinging, staking themselves to a 13-0 lead.

But that was only the beginning of the impressiveness. Leading 13-3 midway through the second quarter, the Red Raiders were on the verge of putting West Virginia down for the count as freshman quarterback Davis Webb took a QB draw down to the one yard line. Alas, rather than setting Tech up with a 1st-and-goal, Webb was clocked by a couple of Mountaineers, spit out the pigskin and WVU recovered.

That fumble would have been the play of the game had Texas Tech lost, for it certainly ignited a West Virginia rally. The mountaineers mounted a 99-yard touchdown drive that whittled Tech's lead to three.

Then Austin Stewart fumbled the succeeding kickoff, which was recovered by the home team. The crowd was going bananas and you got the feeling the roof was beginning to cave in on the Red Raiders. The Mountaineers kicked a field goal to tie the score at 13s going into the halftime break, when moments ago it seemed Tech would be leading 20-3.

The third quarter only added to Tech's woes as West Virginia took the opening kickoff and marched down for another touchdown making the score 20-13 Mountaineers.

Following a Ryan Bustin chip shot that made it 20-16, Dreamius Smith added to Tech's developing nightmare by running it in from 12 yards out to make the score 27-16 with 4:36 to play in the third quarter.

Sure Tech was only down two scores with over a quarter yet to be played, but the Red Raiders certainly looked like a team that was going to confirm all the upset predictions.

Instead, Tech played their best football of the season to decide the matter.

The Red Raider offense banged out three touchdowns to close out the game. And the Tech defense, which had looked quite helpless for over a quarter, threw a shutout at the hot West Virginia offense. Indeed, after Smith's touchdown run, the Red Raiders held the Mountaineers to 38 yards and only one first down. In essence, when the chips were down, Tech played a perfect 19 minutes and 36 seconds of football.

So what are we to conclude from this powerful Tech performance?

First, the Red Raiders are a well knit together and soundly coached football team. Lesser teams would have disintegrated under the pressures Tech faced, or imploded from the opening kickoff. But the Red Raiders were never bothered. They maintained their poise and focus, and the coaching staff made the adjustments that allowed the players to succeed.

And second, Tech is a team that has the intangibles. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury seems to have the magical touch. His teams are well prepared and play with a maturity that is beyond their coach's years. Strong leadership on offense comes from a true freshman quarterback, and on defense from a bevy of seniors led by Kerry Hyder, Terrance Bullitt and Will Smith.

Put it all together and you've got a team built to last. These Red Raiders should have the staying power to compete successfully as they enter the brutal and defining segment of their schedule.

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