Potts leads Texas Tech past North Dakota 38-13
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP)—Taylor Potts threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others to lead Texas Tech past North Dakota 38-13 on Saturday night.
The Red Raiders (1-0) scored three of their five TDs on the ground, unusual for a team known for its pass-happy offense.
Potts, in his first start, got his rushing touchdowns on sneaks from 1 yard out. He also had three interceptions, one more than he had in the two seasons he played backup. North Dakota safety Joel Schwenzfeier intercepted all of them to tie a school record.
Tech kept the Fighting Sioux secondary wondering which receiver was Potts’ target. He was 34-of-48 for 405 yards to 10 receivers.
Detron Lewis led Tech receivers with 146 yards on eight catches, pulling in Potts’ longest—a 49-yarder—for a score.
Mitch Sutton got North Dakota’s lone touchdown on a 9-yard run in the final quarter to whittle the margin to 28-13.
Potts’ second touchdown pass came late in the game when he hit Adam James, son of former SMU running back Craig James, for an 18-yard score to put the Red Raiders up 38-13.
North Dakota (0-1) was overmatched throughout, but the Fighting Sioux managed to keep the Red Raiders from blowing them out. Last year, Texas Tech averaged 44 points per game, so North Dakota’s defense managed what many schools last year couldn’t: they stayed relatively close throughout.
Before the season began Texas Tech coach Mike Leach told Potts that if he avoided interceptions and sacks he would be fine. Last year, Graham Harrell, who had two 5,000-yard passing seasons to set an NCAA record, threw nine interceptions in 13 games.
Potts’ three interceptions came in 48 attempts. The two he threw as a backup came in 85 attempts.
Potts is Leach’s sixth quarterback since his arrival in 2000. In eight of the past nine years, Leach’s quarterbacks have led the nation in passing, and he has said Potts is better prepared in his first year than any of the others.
The Fighting Sioux, a Football Championship Subdivision team which won the Division II title in 2001, is in its second provisional year in what was formerly known as Division I-AA.
Expectations were low for North Dakota, but it wanted to keep the Red Raiders offense off the field. The Fighting Sioux’s offense was successful in a couple of first-half drives but was only able to garner field goals.
Jake Landry was 20-of-28 for 134 yards in his first start for the Fighting Sioux.
North Dakota stopped Texas Tech drives with interceptions twice in the first half. Potts’ second interception came as he tried to hit James along the sideline inside the Sioux 20. The ball hung in the air, and Schwenzfeier had time to move in front of James and grab the pass.
The win gave Leach his 77th victory at Tech. He is six victories short of surpassing Spike Dykes for the most wins by a Tech coach.