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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Nicco Marchiol threw a touchdown pass in his first start, CJ Donaldson added a short TD run and West Virginia held off Texas Tech 20-13 in their Big 12 opener on Saturday.
Texas Tech backup quarterback Behren Morton came on for the injured Tyler Shough in the first quarter and put together a pair of scoring drives. But Morton, who had thrown for 325 yards and two touchdowns against the Mountaineers a year ago in Texas Tech’s 48-10 win, couldn’t bring the Red Raiders back from a 13-3 deficit this time.
Morton drove the Red Raiders from their 28 to the West Virginia 11, but he threw four straight incompletions, the last one with 11 seconds left.
On a day that saw former standout defensive end Bruce Irvin inducted into West Virginia’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Mountaineers (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) limited Texas Tech (1-3, 0-1) to 56 total yards in the first half and 321 overall in a steady drizzle from the outer bands of Tropical Storm Ophelia.
Shough, who had sat out the two previous games against West Virginia with injuries, took hard hits on consecutive plays late in the first quarter and was driven off the field on a cart with an injury to his lower left leg.
The teams traded 79-yard scoring drives early in the fourth quarter. Morton found Jerand Bradley with a 6-yard scoring pass. Marchiol answered with a 9-yard TD toss to Kole Taylor to put West Virginia ahead 20-10.
Morton then threw a 16-yard pass to Bradley on third down to set up Texas Tech at the West Virginia 16. But Morton threw three straight incompletions and the Red Raiders settled for Gino Garcia’s second field goal, a 34-yarder with 4:45 left.
Morton finished 13 of 37 for 158 yards.
Marchiol, a redshirt freshman, got his first career start in place of Garrett Greene, who was held out with an ankle sprain sustained a week ago in a 17-6 win over Pittsburgh. Marchiol threw two interceptions — one that went off the hands of wide receiver Devin Carter. But Texas Tech managed only three points off those mistakes.
Marchiol put together enough sustained drives to make a difference. Donaldson ran for 34 yards on a 75-yard drive that ended with his 2-yard run late in the first quarter. Marchiol later ran 19 yards on third down to set up one of two field goals by Michael Hayes.
Marchiol led West Virginia with 72 rushing yards. But he didn’t see several open receivers and was held to 12 of 21 passing for 78 yards.
Brooks ran for 131 of his 149 yards in the second half for Texas Tech.
Texas Tech: Time ran out on the Red Raiders, who outplayed the Mountaineers after halftime but couldn’t put together enough key plays.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers have won three straight games for the first time under coach Neal Brown, who is 25-26 in his fifth season. West Virginia also snapped a four-game losing streak to the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech hosts Houston next Saturday.
West Virginia travels to TCU next Saturday night.
AP college football: and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll
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