The Mountaineers defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders for the first time under Neal Brown on Saturday.
Morgantown, WV – For the first time since Neal Brown has been in Morgantown, the West Virginia University Mountaineers have defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders. In front of a rowdy crowd on a soggy Saturday, the Mountaineers took the hard-fought battle 20-13 – their first conference-opening win since 2020.
Many of the same storylines surround WVU coming out of the win, but players, coaches, and fans are happy about the victory, regardless.
There is a lot to unpack from the game, and we have our weekly five thoughts to share with you.
Without further ado…
- Nicco Marchiol is a winner, but he still needs work
Nicco Marchiol earned his first career start on Saturday, leaving Mountaineer Field with a 1-0 record under his belt. As expected coming into his career, Marchiol is a winner, and will continue to produce for the Mountaineers. However, after only passing for 78 yards against the Red Raiders, it is apparent that he isn’t quite ready to be the leading man for the Mountaineers. He will get there, though.
- The defense is legit
There were still many doubts surrounding the defense following a dominant performance in the Backyard Brawl. Pitt’s offense is mostly stagnant, and a peewee team could find success stopping them. However, after West Virginia shut down what was supposed to be a potent Texas Tech offense, I’m a believer. Jordan Lesley has his guys ready to play. This unit will win WVU some games in 2023.
- Oliver Straw continues to put in work
Once again, we are including the punter in our weekly thoughts. Oliver Straw put in work against Texas Tech, punting 6 times for an average of 41 and a long of 50. He also placed 4 of his punts inside the 20-yard line. If we have said it once, we have said it a thousand times – Straw deserves Ray Guy recognition.
- This team loves their coach
While many around the Mountain State may not be fans of Neal Brown, his players certainly feel the opposite. They know what is at stake if they do not perform, and they continue to win for their head coach.
— West Virginia Football (@WVUfootball) September 24, 2023
- The Mountaineers are going to make some noise
The Mountaineers play scrappy, running the ball and hitting hard on defense. This is a style that will win games, particularly late in the season. With a schedule that is turning out to be easier than expected, WVU could be a top-half of the league team by season’s end.
(Photo by WVU Athletics)