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Red Raiders handle Cyclones in conference opener
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AMES, Iowa (AP) — Texas Tech finally played somebody decent — on the road, no less.
The Red Raiders won, too, thanks to a defense that certainly looked legitimate on Saturday night.
Seth Doege threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns and Texas Tech held off host Iowa State 24-13 in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
Many doubted the Red Raiders (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) because of their soft early schedule. But they held previously unbeaten Iowa State (3-1, 0-1) to just 189 yards of offense and snapped a two-game losing streak to the Cyclones.
"We just told them it was a true team win," head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "They played hard, fell behind, made some bad mistakes but fought back and was able to get the win. That was big for us."
James White had 57 yards rushing for the Cyclones (3-1, 0-1), and Steele Jantz had one of the worst nights of his career against a Tech unit that entered the game ranked first nationally in total defense.
Jantz threw for just 73 yards on 10 of 20 passing to go with three interceptions and a fumble.
"There were a lot of things that weren't pretty. I don't think we ever established control of the line of scrimmage. I don't think we knocked people off the ball very well," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "There will be a lot of film study and looking on the last two weeks of our preparation and analyzation taking place."
The pick that Tech turned into the go-ahead touchdown wasn't Jantz's fault.
But the fumble that sealed Iowa State's fate was all on him.
Ernst Brun caught the ball near midfield, but the ball popped out after he was drilled by D.J. Johnson. Cornelius Douglas brought the ball back to Iowa State's 9-yard line, and after a holding penalty, and Doege found Eric Ward for a 19-yard TD reception and a 21-13 lead with 10:36 left.
The Cyclones then got into Red Raiders territory with just under seven minutes left when the ball slipped out of Jantz's hands on a scramble.
Texas Tech recovered near midfield and ran down the clock before Ryan Bustin's decisive 39-yard field goal with 2:20 left.
Jantz also gained just 14 yards on 19 rushes while being sacked four times, and his final interception came in the Tech end zone with 57 seconds left.
Jantz had one solid drive early in the second half. He picked up 21 yards on a crucial 3rd-down-and-20 and found Brun in the back corner of the end zone for a 5-yard score to put the Cyclones ahead 13-7.
It all went downhill from there for Iowa State.
Tech answered right back on Doege's 4-yard TD pass to Darrin Moore that made it 14-13 Red Raiders with 1:01 left in the third quarter. The Red Raiders held off Jantz and the Cyclones after that, as a relatively solid night defensively for Iowa State went unrewarded.
The Cyclones held the Red Raiders to just 63 yards rushing and a season-low 24 points.
"When the defense is making plays and interceptions and things like that, and we come out and three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out, it's like what are we playing for? It's embarrassing," Brun said.
Texas Tech rolled over its first three opponents —Northwestern State, Texas State and New Mexico — with such ease that the Red Raiders entered play with sterling defensive stats and ranked second nationally in total offense.
But Tech, which lost to Iowa State 41-7 in 2011 and 52-38 two years ago, realized this wouldn't be another easy romp.
The Red Raiders punted as many times in the first seven minutes, twice, as it had all season. The Cyclones also kept getting in Doege's face, and on a key third down, Doege threw it right to Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein, who took it back 87 yards for the touchdown.
But Klein missed a tackle on Texas Tech's Jakeem Grant on an 11-yard TD reception that tied the game at 7 with 1:32 left in the first half.
"The last two years, they've kind of handled us pretty well," Doege said. "To come down here and get a win is pretty exciting."
Texas Tech's defense held Iowa State to 3.3 yards per play.