West Virginia entered Saturday’s game against Texas Tech as the top-rated total defense in the nation, but it surrendered a season-high 348 total yards in a 34-27 loss to the Red Raiders.
That performance brought West Virginia’s yards allowed average up to 261.8 per game. WVU conceded just 240.3 yards per game in its first four outings.
While the Mountaineers did force a turnover in the third quarter and immediately cashed in for points, they struggled in some other areas.
Head coach Neal Brown was disappointed by the unit’s run defense after it allowed Tech to net 179 yards rushing. The Mountaineers also allowed quarterback Henry Colombi to complete 78 percent of his passes in his first start as a Red Raider.
Brown admitted that the defense looked tired at times during the contest.
“They had several kids that ran the ball. We missed more tackles [Saturday]. Missed more tackles, and I think our fatigue got to us, too,” Brown said. “For whatever reason, I thought we looked like a tired football team late in the first half and at points in the second half.”
The Mountaineers were forced to play the bulk of the contest without standout linebacker Tony Fields II, who remains West Virginia’s leader in tackles. Fields was ejected in the first half of the game for targeting after he hit a sliding Colombi above the shoulders.
Fields was not initially flagged for targeting, but he was ultimately disqualified after a replay review changed the ruling on the field. Brown admitted after the game that he didn’t have a “clear understanding” of that call.
“As a head football coach, I don’t have a clear understanding of the targeting penalty,” Brown said. “I don’t have a clear understanding of how it was reviewed. I feel bad for the officials on the field, I feel bad for the review. I don’t know.”