October 27, 2021

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Shough, Texas Tech shake off slow start to down FIU 54-21

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Texas Tech quarterback Tyler Shough threw for 399 yards and four touchdown passes to spark a 54-21 victory against Florida International on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium.

The Red Raiders shook loose from a tight game after the first quarter with four touchdowns in the second period and racked up 264 yards along the way. They finished the night with 584 total yards.

In the best offensive night this year for Texas Tech (3-0), Shough was an effective catalyst. He spread the ball around to 11 receivers and twice completed eight passes in a row, going 26 of 35.

In the first two games, the Red Raiders ran only 102 plays and star receiver Erik Ezukanma had 17 of the team’s 27 receptions. He faced double-teams most of the night and Shough adjusted.

“We got to spread the wealth a little more and you saw guys making plays,” Texas Tech coach Matt Wells said.

Added Shough, “It was just part of the progressions. Guys were getting open and I got them the ball.”

The Red Raiders needed that spark after falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter. The Panthers (1-2) blended inside power runs by D’vonte Price and deep throws by Max Bortenschlager to piece together an 88-yard drive. Price bulled into the end zone with 6:27 to go in the opening quarter for a 7-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Texas Tech’s offense scuffled. The Red Raiders’ first two possessions ended in punts, and when they forced FIU into a three-and-out, returner Adrian Frye muffed the ball to give it back to the Panthers.

The game changed on the next snap, though, when Texas Tech defensive back Marquis Waters picked off a Bortenschlager pass, found daylight on the sideline and dashed 72 yards for a touchdown return.

FIU drove into field-goal range on the ensuing possession, but Chase Gabriel’s kick was wide left and the Panthers never recovered.

Knotted at 7-7, the Red Raider offense kicked into gear with four consecutive touchdown drives in the second period covering 80, 75, 68 and 61 yards. Shough completed 12-of-13 passes in that span for 217 yards and touchdowns to Travis Koontz twice and Trey Cleveland. Tahj Brooks rushed for the other score.

Texas Tech continue to move the ball after halftime, sandwiching a field goal and touchdown around FIU’s third TD in the third period. Backup quarterback Henry Colombi took over and engineered the final scoring drive, which he finished with a 19-yard scamper.

Bortenschlager completed 12 of 27 throws for 190 yards, two touchdowns and a pick.

PAST AND PRESENT

Texas Tech added two names to the stadium’s Ring of Honor at halftime, one name familiar to fans of modern football and one from the Red Raiders’ past. Elmer Tarbox was a three-sport letterman at Texas Tech from 1937-39, the co-MVP of the 1939 Cotton Bowl and a B-25 bomber pilot in World War II, winning both the Silver Star and Purple Heart. He later served as a Texas state representative from 1967-77. Michael Crabtree, meanwhile, caught 231 passes for 3,087 yards and 41 touchdowns from 2007-08 to become the first two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award as college football’s top receiver. He spent 11 years in the NFL, the last in 2019.

BOTTLED UP

Price’s streak of four consecutive games with 100 yards rushing or more ended. He managed only 51 on 15 attempts and never broke a run for longer than 13 yards. With him slowed, FIU managed only 55 yards on the ground on 29 carries.

THE TAKEAWAY

FIU: Lost its second game on as many road trips to Texas and looked bad in the process. Unable to get Price on track, the offense fizzled after a promising start against the first power-five foe it has faced this season.

Texas Tech: Its trend of slow starts continued for a third week in a row, but the Red Raiders snapped out of their funk much better than in the first two games to complete their first perfect non-conference season since 2017.

UP NEXT

The Panthers head out on the road again to face Central Michigan on Sept. 25.

The Red Raiders enter Big 12 Conference play with a road game at Texas on Sept. 25.

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