Seth Doege stood in the pocket and completed the pass to Alex Torres like he has so many times in practice. There was another throw in the second overtime that was pretty sweet, too.
Doege’s career-best seven touchdowns passes came in a variety of ways, and No. 18 (No. 17 BCS) Texas Tech needed every one of them on Saturday.
Doege found Torres for an 8-yard score in the third overtime after tossing a 25-yard TD to Jakeem Grant on an unconventional play in the second extra period, helping the Red Raiders top TCU 56-53 in the first league meeting between the teams since 1995.
"I was hoping they’d call that play. We practice it over and over and over," Doege said of his final pass. "Torres does a great job of selling it and he did enough where I could fit it in there."
After the Red Raiders (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) blew a 10-point lead late in regulation, Doege threw for a touchdown in each of the three overtimes. The last one came after TCU had to settle for freshman Jaden Oberkrom’s Big 12-record sixth field goal to start the final extra period.
"I thought Torres was covered, and I didn’t think he was going to throw it," Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. "But he let go and put it in the perfect spot."
Texas Tech, which entered ranked 23rd in the BCS standings, began the second overtime in a wildcat formation, with Doege lined up wide. Two other players touched the ball before it got to Doege in the backfield on a play they had practiced for three weeks.
"It was sweet to get to run it in a game," Doege said.
TCU (5-2, 2-2), the Big 12 newcomer, has lost consecutive home games in a single season for the first time since it dropped its final two home games of 1998. Two weeks ago, the Horned Frogs lost their first Big 12 home game to Iowa State.
"Welcome to the Big 12," coach Gary Patterson said. "I do believe this. I believe we proved we can play in it. Are we unhappy we lost? Yes, but it was a heck of a game."
It was the most combined points ever for Texas Tech, and the second-most for TCU.
Doege completed 30-of-42 passes for 318 yards, including a 6-yard TD pass to Eric Ward in the first overtime, and Texas Tech quickly became bowl eligible a year after its first losing season since 1992. The Red Raiders were coming off an impressive 49-14 victory over then-No. 5 West Virginia.
After upsetting third-ranked Oklahoma last season, Texas Tech followed with five losses in a row that ended a Big 12-record streak of 18 consecutive seasons of bowl eligibility.
"We made a lot of mistakes," Tuberville said. "But we’ve been working real hard for a game like this, to win a game when you don’t play your best."
And the Red Raiders almost let this game slip away.
Tech led 36-26 when Kenny Williams busted loose for a 47-yard touchdown run with 4:06 left in regulation. That came after TCU was held to a three-and-out following Doege’s 8-yard TD pass to Torres and two-point conversion.
Trevone Boykin threw a 60-yard TD pass to LaDarius Brown with 2:25 left before the Frogs failed to recover an onside kick. But they held to Tech to 1 yard before a punt, setting up a nine-play, 56-yard drive capped by Oberkrom’s 42-yard field goal with 18 seconds left.
Boykin, the redshirt freshman who this month replaced second-year starter Casey Pachall, was 26-of-44 for 332 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
TCU had the first shot in overtime, and Boykin threw an 8-yard TD pass to Josh Boyce on the fourth play. Ward’s third TD catch tied it again. He finished with six catches for 61 yards.
After the wildcat score to start the second overtime, Boykin responded with a 7-yard TD pass to B.J. Catalon.
Skye Dawson had 10 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown for TCU, a 19-yarder less than two minutes into the game.
The Red Raiders were down 17-7 before two touchdowns in a span of just over three minutes in the second quarter. They surprised TCU with an onside kick that led to the second score in that span after a replay review overturned an official’s ruling of incomplete pass.
Moore had a 33-yard touchdown catch even with defender Kevin White right with him. That was only three plays after Moore was called for offensive pass interference when he pushed off the same cornerback to make a catch, the penalty wiping out a nearly 25-yard gain to the TCU 22.
Ward was initially ruled out of bounds after making a leaping 29-yard grab and then falling down on the far side of the end zone. But officials reviewed the play, which showed Ward’s right elbow had landed in the end zone before the rest of his body came down on the line for a score that made it 21-17.
"We played a Tech team that was 5-1 and we lost by three points in overtime," Patterson said. "They made one more play than we did."