LUBBOCK, Texas (AP)—The best game in Cody Hodges’ career helped No. 13 Texas Tech get off to its best start since 1998.
Hodges, who left the game with 4:48 remaining, threw for 643 yards and five touchdowns to help the Red Raiders beat Kansas State 59-20 Saturday. The major college record for yards passing in a game is 716 by Houston’s David Klingler in 1990.
Hodges’ yardage is the fourth highest ever in Division I-A and the second time in two years a Tech quarterback has thrown for more than 600 yards. In 2003, B.J. Symons threw for 661 yards against Mississippi.
“I think it was the best game he has played since he’s been here,” coach Mike Leach said of Hodges. “He’s improving a lot overall and he’s getting a better feel for what the receivers are going to do.”
Hodges completed 44 of 65 passes and threw two interceptions. He threw TD passes of 34, 20, 21, 3 and 39 yards.
Hodges, however, wasn’t focused on his 643 yards.
“I threw two interceptions today, so that wasn’t real good,” he said. “Overall, I felt I played well, but the guys in front of me blocked well and the guys who were catching the football deserve a lot of credit as well.”
The Red Raiders (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) had four receivers with more than 100 yards.
“A team like that you know you have to limit their yardage and not give up too many big plays,” Wildcats defensive back Marcus Watts said. “You think you have them covered and they are open.”
Hodges’ favorite receiver was Joel Filani, who set a new conference record for receiving yards in a game with 255 on 10 catches. The previous Big 12 record was 241 yards by Texas Tech’s Donnie Hart against Texas in 1996.
Last week, Filani caught 11 passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns against Nebraska. He got one TD on Saturday.
Taurean Henderson caught 10 passes for 118 yards, Jarrett Hicks made nine catches for 105 yards, and Robert Johnson caught seven for 107 yards.
“I think we have proven to be a lot of challenge for a lot of defenses,” Hodges said. “If they want to start keying on Joel or on some of our other guys, our other guys are going to be open.”
The win sets up a showdown at No. 2 Texas next week that could ultimately determine the winner of the Big 12 South division.
“I think it’s the kind of game you dream about,” Hodges said. “If as a quarterback you can’t get excited about a game like that, then there’s something wrong with your pulse.”
Henderson, who ran for three touchdowns and caught two others scores, became the NCAA leader in receptions by a running back (263) on the game’s third play when he caught a screen pass for 19 yards. He entered the game needing one catch to pass Long Beach State’s Mark Templeton for the career record. Templeton caught 262 passes from 1984-87.
“I think a lot of it is Tech is seen as a passing offense, and he’s under the radar,” Hodges said. “But screens and passes into the flat, those are like running plays for us, and he’s able to pick up big yards on them.”
The Wildcats (4-2, 1-2) hurt themselves in the third quarter, losing the ball on three of their first four possessions. Tech converted the two fumbles and an interception into touchdowns to take a 38-13 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Yamon Figurs took the ball at the 2 and returned it untouched 98 yards to pull the Wildcats within 38-20 with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter.
They could pull no closer.
“I’m not thinking about dignity right now, but what happened and what we need to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. “As bad as it was, we did have opportunities in the ballgame to make a difference. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves.”
The Red Raiders started off slowly and Kansas State became the first team this season to score points—a field goal—against them in a first quarter. The Wildcats kept the Red Raiders out of the end zone until late in the second quarter.