STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury admitted he didn’t know how good Alan Bowman was when he put the freshman into the season opener after an injury to starter McLane Carter.
Kingsbury and the rest of the Red Raiders have a pretty good idea what Bowman is capable of these days.
Led by Bowman’s 397 yards passing and two touchdowns, Texas Tech won its third straight game since that opening loss to Mississippi with a 41-17 victory over No. 15 Oklahoma State on Saturday night.
The win put an emphatic end to a nine-game losing streak to the Cowboys for the Red Raiders (3-1, 1-0 Big 12), whose last victory over Oklahoma State came in 2008. Moreover, it kept Texas Tech undefeated under its youthful backup quarterback — who is doing his best to stay on the field when Carter returns.
“(Bowman’s) not hesitant for a young guy to do what he’s doing,” Kingsbury said. “It’s impressive. I’ve been in his shoes and coached young guys, and he just cuts it loose.”
Bowman completed 35 of 46 passes in his Big 12 debut, guiding the nation’s top offense to 621 total yards. Demarcus Felton added a pair of rushing touchdowns for Texas Tech and finished with 121 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Nine Red Raiders caught passes, with Ja’Deion High leading the way with eight catches for 79 yards. Antoine Wesley and Zach Austin finished with seven catches apiece, courtesy of the first-year quarterback who was making his first start away from Lubbock.
The win was Texas Tech’s first over a top-15 team since 2011, and it capped a welcomed September turnaround after the loss to the Rebels.
“Everybody’s all in,” Felton said. “The coaches are all in, the players and nobody is taking short corners.”
Justice Hill rushed 12 times for 111 yards and a touchdown for the Cowboys (3-1, 0-1), the 10th straight game the junior has scored. Tylan Wallace had seven catches for 123 yards.
After leading Oklahoma State to a win over Boise State a week ago, Oklahoma State quarterback Taylor Cornelius struggled – finishing 18-of-38 passing for 258 yards with a touchdown and interception.
“It’s pretty simple,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “We got out-coached and out-played, and they were tougher than us. I mean, I don’t really know any other way to put it.”
The win was the first against the Cowboys for Kingsbury, who is now 1-5 against Oklahoma State and Gundy.
Whether it was the last for the time being under Bowman’s watch is anybody’s best guess, with Kingsbury saying he’ll wait until Carter is fully recovered before making a quarterback decision.
It wasn’t a 605-yard passing performance for Bowman, like last week when the Texas Tech signal caller set the Big 12’s freshman record in a win over Houston. That said, the win was nothing short of a Big 12 coming-out party for the 6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback who has led the Red Raiders to three straight wins.
Oklahoma State entered the game sixth in the country in total offense and having outscored its first three opponents by a total of 157-51. The Cowboys never could quite get in sync against Texas Tech, but a favorable schedule over the next three weeks could help them make amends with voters.
Texas Tech entered the game 96th in the country in scoring defense (32 ppg) and had allowed nearly 50 points in two of its first three games. The Red Raiders got a boost with the return of safety Jah’Shawn Johnson from a shoulder injury on Saturday, and they held the country’s sixth-best offense to 386 total yards. “We weren’t happy with the first three weeks, really, and where we were at,” Kingsbury said. “Getting Jah’Shawn back brings a calmness to this back end.”
Oklahoma State kicker Matt Ammendola missed a 36-yard field goal attempt with the Cowboys trailing 31-17 midway through the third quarter. The miss ended a streak of 18 straight made field goals for the junior, who had made 20 of his last 21 attempts before the errant kick.
Texas Tech hosts No. 12 West Virginia next week.
The Cowboys are at Kansas.
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