LUBBOCK, Texas — It’s rare when pass-happy Texas Tech churns out more plays on the ground than in the air, but that’s what happened Saturday night.
Patrick Mahomes threw for five touchdowns, three to Johnathan Giles, and ran for another to lead Texas Tech past Louisiana Tech 59-45.
“That was their defense,” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said of the 43-36 edge to running plays. “If they’re going to give us a run, we’re going to take it. We’re going to do whatever the defense allows us to do.”
Giles, who finished with six catches for 186 yards, said balance with the rush and pass takes pressure off Mahomes.
“I feel like it makes it easier for Pat just so he don’t have to throw the ball a whole lot,” he said. “And us as a receiver group, just blocking, being physical, if very fun.”
Mahomes threw touchdown passes of 64, 36, 9, 42 and 4. The junior, who came into the game leading the nation in total offense, completed 26 of 36 passes for 470 yards.
Demarcus Felton rushed for 123 yards on 16 carries and had two touchdowns.
The Bulldogs fell behind 35-10 and couldn’t quell the Red Raiders up-tempo offense enough to pull off a comeback. They got within 11 points twice.
“I thought our defense was a joke,” Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said.
Kingsbury said his team needs to get tougher and put opponents away.
“You can’t have guys, particularly their best players, running wide open,” he said.
The Red Raiders (2-1) didn’t punt through three quarters and scored on six of their first seven possessions.
Jarred Craft had 151 yards on 21 carries and Trent Taylor caught six passes for 166 yards for the Bulldogs (1-2).
“Jarred did a phenomenal job, whether it was to start off a drive or a short play that he’d just bust open, he did a great job getting his holes, almost always making the first defender miss” quarterback Ryan Higgins said. “He kept us alive.”
The Red Raiders pulled some razzle dazzle in the second quarter, running a double reverse that ended in Giles hands and brought him one of his three touchdowns — a 42-yarder.
“I stole that from Western Kentucky,” Kingsbury said. “It was a great play they ran for a touchdown, so we repped it a ton. We had it but we weren’t getting the right looks for it, and it just worked out tonight.”
LOUISIANA TECH: The Bulldogs’ defense came into the game giving up just 295 total yards per game to rank 31st in the nation . Texas Tech moved the ball at will and had almost 100 yards more of offense than that (392), and led 35-17 at halftime.
TEXAS TECH: Ranked 117th in total defense coming into the game, Texas Tech showed improvement. The Bulldogs tallied 572 total yards, fewer than the 652 the Red Raiders gave up in their 68-55 loss at Arizona State last week. “I thought offensively we handled the situation better,” Kingsbury said. “Everybody executed at a much higher level.”
Holtz lauded Texas Tech’s defense. “They ran a lot of coverages, they ran a lot of fronts,” he said. “They do as much as any defense I’ve ever seen. They ran I don’t know how many coverages tonight, but you couldn’t attack what they were doing.”
LOUISIANA TECH: The Bulldogs continue their road games when they travel to Middle Tennessee.
TEXAS TECH: The Red Raiders have a bye next week before hosting Kansas on Sept. 29. It will be the first Thursday night home game for Texas Tech since beating then-No. 24 TCU 20-10 on Sept. 12, 2013, Kliff Kingsbury’s first season with the Red Raiders.
It was the eighth home game in a row that the Red Raiders scored at least 50 points
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Online: AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org