LUBBOCK, Texas — Texas Tech continues to put its season on freshman quarterbacks and the young guns continue to deliver.
Red Raiders quarterback Davis Webb, making his first collegiate start, threw three touchdown passes in leading 20th-ranked Texas Tech past a stubborn and opportunistic Iowa State team, 42-35, Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium.
"We play exciting football games,” said Iowa State Coach Paul Rhoads. “In five games, they’ve all been 60-minute football games and our kids have been fighting right down to the very end. That’s very pleasing to a coach.
“But you’re not going to win football games giving up 666 yards. That’s just not going to happen.”
Webb started in place of injured freshman Baker Mayfield, who started the Red Raiders’ first five games. Webb completed 35 of 56 passes for 415 yards.
The Red Raiders (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) won despite losing the turnover battle, 3-0. However, Texas Tech piled up 666 yards — including 251 on the ground —— of total offense and held the Cyclones to 311.
Texas Tech finished the third quarter with a massive lead in offensive yards, but the Red Raiders’ dominance equaled just a seven-point lead on the scoreboard.
The Red Raiders changed that by going 69 yards in five plays for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 35-21. Webb hit Jace Amaro for a 39-yard gain to the Iowa State 13 and two plays later DeAndre Washington scored on a 12-yard run.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech’s defense forced the Cyclones to go three-and-out on four straight series in the third and fourth quarters.
But the 14-point lead was short-lived as Webb was picked off by Iowa State linebacker Jeremiah George at the Texas Tech 20. That set up Shontrelle Johnson’s 2-yard touchdown run to cut the Red Raiders’ lead to 35-28 with 10:40 left.
Texas Tech fended off an Iowa State comeback, though, with two things that don’t always fit in the Red Raiders’ vocabulary: rushing attack and defense.
After the Texas Tech defense registered another three-and-out, Texas Tech running back Sadale Foster ran 38 yards for a touchdown. Foster’s score capped a drive that featured five runs in six plays to go 80 yards. The score put the game out of reach.
Webb was effective from the beginning, throwing two first-quarter touchdown passes to Jakeem Grant and Eric Ward.
But Iowa State was able to tie it at 14 by beating the Red Raiders in the special-teams department.
Cyclones kick returner Jarvis West answered Texas Tech’s first touchdown with a 95-yard return for a touchdown. It was Iowa State’s first non-onside-kick kickoff return for a touchdown since Troy Davis returned a kick 99 yards for a touchdown against Colorado in 1994.
Then Iowa State capitalized on a bad bounce for the Red Raiders. Cyclones punter Kirby Van Der Kamp’s punt glanced off Texas Tech’s Keenon Ward as he was tied up in a block. Levi Peters recovered the muffed punt for Iowa State, giving the Cyclones the ball at the Texas Tech 33.
Iowa State converted the turnover into points when Aaron Wimberly ran 4 yards for a touchdown.
The Red Raiders and Cyclones exchanged long touchdown drives — the Red Raiders went 86 yards for a touchdown capped by Kenny Williams’ 1-yard run; Iowa State drove 75 yards to set up Jeff Woody’s 3-yard scoring run — and the teams went to halftime tied at 21.Texas Tech outgained Iowa State, 354 to 139, in the first half, but Iowa State made the most of the Red Raiders’ mistakes. Texas Tech gave up two fumbles, the kickoff-return touchdown and kicker Ryan Bustin missed a 34-yard field goal.