FORT WORTH, Texas — The Texas Tech Red Raiders showed they weren’t a one-hit wonder Saturday against TCU.
One week after knocking off then fifth-ranked West Virginia, Tech survived a late TCU rally to force overtime and then outlasted the Horned Frogs in three extra sessions 56-53. Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege led the way, throwing a career-best seven touchdowns and finishing 30-of-42 for 318 yards.
Texas Tech, which came into the game No. 17 in the BCS standings, kept itself in the Big 12 title picture by winning a game in which it was outgained in rushing and passing. Plus, it has no momentum heading into overtime.
But when Seth Doege found Alex Torres running across the back of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown to end the game, all that mattered to the Red Raiders was the final score.
“We’re a little bit better than probably people thought,” said Texas Tech coach Tom Tuberville, whose team improved to 6-1 and 3-1 in conference play. “What a bizarre football game back and forth.”
Bizarre is a good way to describe the Tech win. The Red Raiders had just two first downs in the first quarter and trailed 10-7. They didn’t have a first down in the third quarter and trailed 26-21 early in the fourth.
The Red Raiders got going when Doege and Torres connected on an 8-yard score followed by Torres’ two-point conversion pass to Darrin Moore to grab a 29-26 lead. Kenny Williams’ 47-yard run less than two minutes later put the Raiders up 36-26 with 4:06 remaining and overtime seemed very unlikely.
But TCU (5-2, 2-2), which hadn’t lost consecutive games at Amon G. Carter Stadium since it lost the 1999 opener, didn’t go away. LaDarius Brown reeled in a 60-yard score to give the Frogs life and after a quick three-and-out, Jaden Oberkrom kicked a 42-yard field goal with 18 seconds left to tie it at 36-all.
The furious Frog rally had the Red Raiders down, but not out.
“On the sideline you could tell nobody had any thought about losing this game,” said Doege, who threw a career-high seven touchdown passes on his 318-yard night. “That’s a credit to our coaches, our team, our atmosphere. We knew we were in it the whole time and no matter what hole we were in, we were digging our way out of it.
“It’s huge for us because we’ve been preaching taking it to the next level. In the past we’ve played really big games but never consistently played at a high level and consistently beat big-time teams.”
High level would be the best way to describe overtime.
TCU redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin hit Josh Boyce for an 8-yard TD in the first OT, but Doege answered with a 6-yard scoring pass to Eric Ward.
In the second OT, Tech went first and Doege connected on a trick play with Jakeem Grant for a 25-yard touchdown. This time Boykin did the answering back, hitting B.J. Catalon for a 7-yard TD.
TCU went first in the third overtime and only scored three points on the sixth field goal of the day from Oberkrom, a Big 12 record. The Red Raiders needed just four plays to win it on the Doege-to-Torres TD.
“You have to give Tech credit for finding a way to win,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson, whose team played the first three-overtime game in the program’s history. “We have to find a way to make plays, simple as that. We can’t give up points. We can’t give up missed tackles like we did near the end. We are going to lose when we do that.
“I have to do a better job calling (plays), coaches have to do a better job and we have to find a way to make plays. Welcome to the Big 12.”
TCU had 28 first downs to Tech’s 21, outgained Tech 516-389 and controlled the time of possession. But the Horned Frogs also made some mistakes, with Boykin getting intercepted twice and Texas Tech working an onside kick to perfection in the second quarter. That play allowed Tech to turn a 10-point deficit early in the second quarter to a 21-17 Tech lead after Doege found Ward in the back of the end zone for a 29-yard score.
That play was originally ruled incomplete but was overturned by replay, one of two replay reversals that went Tech’s way Saturday.
Despite all the scoring, no team led by more than 10 points and neither team could make the 10-point lead last longer than two minutes.
The Tech win didn’t have the same artistry or dominance as its 49-14 victory over West Virginia last week but it may have been more important.
“We made a lot of mistakes, but we’ve been working really hard for a game like this,” Tuberville said. “You win a game when you don’t play your best. To find a way to win on the road in overtime is very hard.”