Henry Colombi leads Texas Tech to first Big 12 win in his...

Henry Colombi leads Texas Tech to first Big 12 win in his first start for Red Raiders

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The introduction could not have been better Saturday.

Henry Colombi, who earned his first chance to start at quarterback, marched the Texas Tech offense down the field and capped off a 10-play drive by recording a 1-yard run in which he dove into the end zone against the West Virginia defense.

But, it wasn’t a quarterback who provided the game-changing, offensive punch in the Big 12 Conference game.

Instead, Red Raider linebackers Jacob Morgenstern and Colin Schooler caused a fumble which Zech McPherson returned 56 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in a 34-27 victory over the Mountaineers inside Jones AT&T Stadium.

With the victory, Texas Tech (2-3, 1-3) snapped a three-game losing streak in conference play by fending off a late-game charge by the Mountaineers (3-2, 2-2).

Colombi, who threw for 169 yards and one touchdown, played efficiently but found himself walking toward the sideline following a three-and-out with Texas Tech and West Virginia knotted at 27-27 with a little over four minutes to play in the third.

Austin McNamara — who recorded a school-record 87-yard punt earlier in the contest — caught a bit of wind and booted just a 31-yard punt to give the Mountaineers ideal field position.

But, two plays into the drive which started at the TTU 46, Morgenstern and Schooler swarmed WVU wide receiver Sam James and caused a fumble which bounced into the arms of McPherson who was johnny-on-the-spot for the second week in a row.

McPherson, who returned a blocked field goal 90 yards against Iowa State, found another gear as he scooted 56 yards for the touchdown that would stand thanks to the offense milking the clock and the defense salting away one last WVU offensive possession.

Colombi helped run down the clock by completing one of his biggest passes to Myles Price near the TTU 20 in which the freshman receiver — with a helpful push — chugged for a 9-yard gain to provide a much-needed first down at the 25 with less than five minutes left in the game.

Two plays later, freshman running back Tahj Brooks rumbled for 10 yards to net another first down and milk the clock down under the two-minute mark.

West Virginia signal-caller Jarrett Doege, Colombi’s counterpart, was also up to the task of helping his offense click in a road environment.

The former Lubbock-Cooper standout, who helped guide the Mountaineer offense to a game-tying touchdown in the third quarter, had one more chance to knot the game up with less than 10 seconds to play.

But, Doege’s Hail Mary pass was deemed incomplete as the clock expired and the Red Raiders celebrated a victory.

Find more Texas Tech stories from The Dallas Morning News here.



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