By BETSY BLANEY
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) – Skyler Howard ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to lead No. 20 West Virginia past Texas Tech 48-17 on Saturday to keep the Mountaineers unbeaten and in the hunt for the Big 12 title.
The Mountaineers (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) held Texas Tech (3-3, 1-2) to its lowest offensive output this season, just 379 yards, and harassed quarterback Patrick Mahomes most of the day. He threw for 305 yards, his second-lowest passing total of the season, and was replaced in the fourth quarter by Nic Shimonek.
A 14-point turnaround in the second quarter helped the Mountaineers gain momentum. Sean Walters’ interception at the West Virginia 11 led to a TD pass from Howard to Justin Crawford at the other end of the field to put the Mountaineers up 17-7.
“We made some plays, got a good lead,” Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said. “We were able to control the ball and shorten the game. That’s, in a perfect world, what we wanted to happen and that’s what happened.”
Howard completed 21 of 31 passes for 318 yards. Rushel Shell, who finished with 104 yards rushing for West Virginia, scored two rushing TDs in the fourth quarter as the Mountaineers pulled away. A
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said his team’s performance was embarrassing and not what he expected.
“It’s the worst I’ve seen since I’ve been associated with Texas Tech,” he said. “We seemed intimidated and they took it.”
West Virginia: The Mountaineers improved their success dramatically in the red zone. Coming into the game, West Virginia had found the end zone on just eight of 18 trips inside opponents’ 20 (44 percent). They scored on each of their eight trips there Saturday.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders’ streak of nine home games with at least 50 points – an NCAA record – ended with this loss. Their offense was stymied in every facet by West Virginia’s defense. Texas Tech’s run game, which typically sets up the pass, was nearly nonexistent. They finished with just 34 rushing yards.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers host TCU next Saturday.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders host Oklahoma, which is led by former Texas Tech QB Baker Mayfield.
This story corrects spelling of Skyler Howard.
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