Jett Duffey has won as Texas Tech’s starting quarterback before and has had a 400-yard passing day before. But Red Raiders coach Matt Wells’ post-game compliments following Saturday’s 45-35 upset of No. 21 Oklahoma State included a different element of the junior quarterback’s game.
“Jett Duffey was stingy with the football,” Wells said. And turnovers made a huge difference in the game.
Duffey passed for four touchdowns, ran for another and avoided turnovers, which have previously plagued him, in his first start of the season. Alan Bowman started Texas Tech’s first two games at quarterback before injuring his non-passing shoulder. Transfer Jackson Tyner started the Red Raiders’ previous game at Oklahoma before being replaced early by Duffey, who went 1-2 in three starts last season.
“From the get-go, I felt confident in our game plan,” Duffey said. “I felt confident in my teammates.”
Texas Tech (3-2, 1-1 Big 12), coming off a 55-16 loss at Oklahoma two weeks ago, built a 20-0 lead 30 seconds into the second quarter to win its second straight in the series after going 0-10-2 in the teams’ previous 12 meetings.
“This was a tough week. It was an emotional week,” Wells said. “Nobody was very happy about the way we played last week. I thought they responded. Tremendous amount of guts.”
Duffey completed 26 of 44 passes for 424 yards with scoring passes to Erik Ezukanma (56 yards), T.J. Vasher (21), KeSean Carter (14) and Dalton Rigdon (8). He ran for a 16-yard touchdown.
Conversely, Oklahoma State (4-2, 1-2) committed five turnovers, three interceptions and two fumbles by redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders. Cowboys running back Chuba Hubbard, first in the FBS averaging 187.6 rushing yards going into Saturday, rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns.
Cowboys coach Mike Gundy pointed to multiple issues that led to defeat, including the possibility that he worked the team, which hasn’t yet had an off week this season, too hard during the last two weeks.
“There was a lot of blame to be thrown around – quarterbacks, offensive line, corners, coaches, everybody,” Gundy said. “But in the big picture, if you turn the ball over that many times, no matter what forced those turnovers, and if you give up big plays, it’s difficult to win.”
Gundy cited poor pass protection on Sanders’ first two interceptions, in which he threw toward the sideline into tight coverage. Sanders was 22 of 37 passing for 276 yards with touchdowns of 73 yards to Jordan McCray and 10 yards to Tylan Wallace.
After the game, Sanders sat in a stadium tunnel, left hand to his forehead, as he answered questions from the media.
“I mean, I had five turnovers,” Sanders said. “Not offensive line. Not the receivers. Not the defense. I did; Spencer Sanders had five turnovers. I can’t do that. I’ve got to do better.”
Wallace, who went into play leading Division I averaging 22.07 yards per catch among his 123.6 yards per game, had 11 catches for 85 yards, one touchdown in the closing minutes, and a long gain of 14 yards.
Trey Wolff converted three of four Texas Tech field-goal attempts ranging from 26 to 38 yards.
AND TWO MAKES FIVE
Texas Tech safety Douglas Coleman III made two interceptions, giving him five in five games this season.
“We had to show the world, like, we can play defense at Texas Tech,” Coleman said. “I think it was a big statement we had to prove.”
THIRD DOWN NOT THE CHARM
The teams combined to go 0 for 17 on third-down conversions until the closing minutes of the half, when Hubbard took the ball on 3rd-and-1 at Texas Tech’s 3-yard line and scored. On one of those Cowboys possessions, a conversion was negated by a blocking penalty on Wallace.
Texas Tech ended a 10-game losing streak at home against ranked opponents since beating No. 24 TCU 20-10 in September 2013 for first-year coach Matt Wells’ first conference win. Three of those losses were to the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State is 0 for 2 in the Lone Star State this season, having lost 36-30 at Texas on Sept. 21. Their next chance to return to Texas would be for the conference championship at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium.
Oklahoma State hosts Baylor on Oct. 19 following its first off week.
Texas Tech visits Baylor next Saturday, its first trip to Waco since 2007. The series had been played at neutral sites beginning 2009, with nine games in Arlington and one at the Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas.
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