LUBBOCK, Texas -- A Mountaineer could certainly feel disoriented in the wide open spaces of West Texas.
The fifth-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers appeared lost as Texas Tech laid West Virginia as flat as the landscape, pummeling the Mountaineers 49-14 on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium.
Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege passed for a career-high 504 yards and six touchdowns, leading the Red Raiders to a surprising win. Doege threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns in the first half as Texas Tech established a 35-7 lead by intermission and never looked back.
Doege took much of the heat for Texas Tech's 41-20 loss to Oklahoma a week ago when he threw three interceptions and no touchdown passes. But Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville didn't lose confidence in his quarterback.
"How about our quarterback," Tuberville said. "We worked hard on keeping them off of him and giving him one extra second to throw the ball and he played perfect."
Meanwhile, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy through the first five games of the season, never seemed to be in rhythm. Smith completed 19 of 34 passes in the first half but couldn't help his Mountaineers keep pace with Doege and the Red Raiders. For the game, Smith went 29 of 55 for 275 yards, 124 below his season average.
But West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen didn't pin the loss on Smith's inconsistent day.
"The bottom line is this: they played better than we did on all three sides of the ball," Holgorsen said. "They played harder than we did. Effort was better. They out-coached us. We let the situation get to us."
Tuberville said the Red Raiders' game plan was to make Smith pass it.
"We stopped the run on defense," Tuberville said. "It sounds crazy, but we were going to absolutely make them beat us throwing the ball"
Doege led Texas Tech on touchdown drives of 75 and 69 yards on its first two possessions of the game, capping them with scoring passes to Jace Amaro that covered 39 yards and a 19-yard strike to Eric Ward.
"To get up on them fast is big in a game like this," Texas Tech safety Cody Davis said. "You kind of show them we're serious and get a jump on them and get the momentum on our side."
West Virginia answered early when Smith threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Stedman Bailey to cut the Red Raiders' lead to 14-7 with 4:21 left in the first quarter.
But Texas Tech shut out the Mountaineers in the second quarter while scoring on three of its four possessions in the period, including the final one when the Red Raiders took the ball with 56 seconds left.
The lightning-quick score at the end of the second quarter came on the ground as Red Raider running back SaDale Foster got around end and galloped 53 yards for a touchdown.
When Texas Tech's offense finally slowed down a bit in the third quarter -- the Red Raiders lost a fumble inside the Mountaineers' 20 and missed a 42-yard field goal attempt -- the defense continued to turn away the previously prolific West Virginia offense.
"We did think we were going to have to score some points to win this game," Doege said. "But our defense played even better than we thought they could."
The Red Raiders were ranked No. 2 in the nation in total defense entering the game despite giving up 380 yards against Oklahoma a week ago. West Virginia, which scored 118 points in Big 12 wins against Baylor and Texas in its previous two games, represented the stiffest test for the Texas Tech defense to date.
But the Red Raiders held West Virginia to 408 yards, 162 below the Mountaineers' season average. More importantly, Texas Tech kept a West Virginia team averaging 52 points per game to just 14.
"This is a team win, a university win, a city win today," Tuberville said. "Not many people gave us a chance."
NOTES: West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, who coached under Mike Leach at Texas Tech from 2000-2007, lost for the first time as a head coach in his return to Lubbock ... The only previous meeting between Texas Tech and West Virginia came in the 1938 Sun Bowl, which the Mountaineers won 7-6. The Red Raiders and Mountaineers eclipsed that scoring total six minutes into the game when Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Eric Ward, giving the Red Raiders a 14-0 lead ... Texas Tech safety Cody Davis, who led the Red Raiders with a career-high 13 tackles, surpassed 300 tackles for his career in the game.
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