No. 11 Texas Tech rolls over UMass 56-14
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP)—Texas Tech’s running backs don’t usually get the ink its receivers do, making Saturday night’s performances by the two who split duty in the backfield stand out all the more.
Baron Batch had 55 yards on the ground and 68 receiving yards, while Shannon Woods, who spent much of last year in coach Mike Leach’s doghouse, had 108 yards rushing and 53 yards receiving as the No. 11 Red Raiders rolled over Massachusetts 56-14.
Together they had 284 total yards, more than half of Tech’s 538 of total offense
“I think they compliment each other real well because they literally compete for yards on the ground and in the air,” Tech coach Mike Leach said. “You can kind of tell they’re observing one another and bringing the best of the other to their game.”
Graham Harrell threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns and Woods ran for three scores to help No. 11 Texas Tech.
Texas Tech (4-0) dominated the Minutemen from the outset. The Red Raiders scored on six of seven possessions in the first half and led 42-7 at the intermission.
It was the most first-half points for the Red Raiders since late September 2006 when they scored 42 points against Southeast Louisiana in an eventually 62-0 win.
And it could have been worse. Tremain Swindall, Detron Lewis and All-American Michael Crabtree were each unable to hold onto passes in the end zone.
Massachusetts couldn’t summon much resistance the rest of the game.
Harrell, who completed passes to 10 different receivers, threw TDs of 17, 12, 2 and 4 yards—and that was in the first half alone. He was 27-of-34 and no interceptions.
Woods ran for touchdowns of 2, 38 and 18 yards and finished with 108 yards on 10 carries. It was the most rushing yards for him since he got 109 in a 44-41 win over Minnesota in the 2006 Insight Bowl.
“The doghouse pretty well ended when we started spring and he competed hard,” Leach said. “He always has had the ability to be really polished. When’s he’s on his A-game he blocks as good as anybody in the league. When he’s doing all the little things right, he’s pretty good.”
Woods said Batch helped him hang in when Woods had gone from a starting role in 2006 when he led the Big 12 in all-purpose yards to being benched for the final four regular-season games last season and getting sent home from Jacksonville prior to the Gator Bowl as a disciplinary action.
“It was hard, ain’t no lying about it,” Woods said. “It was tough to play and then not be able to, you know. That’s hard. But I’m happy with myself. I stuck with it.”
The Red Raiders have a week off before beginning the Big 12 season at Kansas State on Oct. 4.
Massachusetts’ troubles continued to begin the second half. On the third play from scrimmage, Red Raider safety Darcel McBath stepped in front a pass from Liam Coen to Julian Talley and returned it 45 yards to put Texas Tech up 49-7.
Harrell was replaced by Taylor Potts with about 11 minutes remaining in the game.
Coen was 13-of-20 for 145 yards, well below his season average of 275 yards per game.
Massachusetts (2-2) avoided a second-half shutout when Korrey Davis scored on a 2-yard run with 51 seconds remaining in the game.
“We just couldn’t do anything on a consistent basis and we were beaten by a better football team than us today,” Minutemen coach Don Brown said. “We’ve trailed in every football game in the first quarter. In the first two week we were able to overcome, but today we were not able to overcome it.”
Texas Tech (4-0) wasted little time getting out front, scoring quickly on each its first two possessions in the game. Woods got the first of two touchdowns in the first half when he carried the ball in from the 2 and Swindall caught his first career TD when Harrell hit him at the 5 and he ran in from there to put the Red Raiders up 14-0.
On the Red Raiders third possession, Harrell hit Swindall at the UMass 47 but the redshirt freshman fumbled the ball. Minutemen safety Brian Ellis picked it up and started lumbering toward the end zone along the far sideline. Most of the Texas Tech players thought the pass to Swindall was ruled incomplete and stood and watched as Ellis completed a 53-yard score to make it 14-7. It was Ellis’ first career touchdown.