Second-half West Virginia was a completely different team than first-half West Virginia on Saturday against Texas Tech.
The first-half Mountaineers gave up 338 yards and 28 points to the Red Raiders. Texas Tech quarterback Nic Shimonek went 17-24 with 4 touchdowns and absolutely shredded West Virginia.
But the second-half Mountaineers gave up just 175 yards and 7 points, and picked off a pass. West Virginia stormed back to win 46-35.
For West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, that split in halves is unacceptable. Allan Taylor of the West Virginia MetroNews detailed Gibson’s frustrations.
“I’m disgusted how we played in the first half and really proud how we played in the second half,” Gibson said.
As Taylor detailed, the Mountaineers essentially quit blitzing in the second half. Rather than play aggressive and leave themselves open on the back end to big plays, West Virginia sat back and focused on taking away long throws.
The strategy worked. Shimonek was rendered largely ineffective in the second half, going 4-12.
West Virginia will play many more explosive offenses in the Big 12. The Mountaineers still have to face Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, for example.
To beat those teams, they’ll need to play a full 60 minutes of tight defense, instead of relying on the second-half magic yet again.