Sports

Texas Tech humbles KSU 66-14

LUBBOCK, Texas — Remember, Kansas State football players said they wanted this challenge.

The Wildcats entered Saturday night's game at Texas Tech sporting a defense that was statistically one of the best in the country and an offense that was coming off its most promising game of the season.

Going up against a respected Big 12 South team, this was their shot at validating their recent play.

But those hopes evaporated quickly. Texas Tech did whatever it wanted against Kansas State and won 66-14, piling up 739 yards of offense.

K-State was not ready for the challenge, and by game's end it had turned into a blowout for the record book.

It brought back memories of last season's stretch of defensive clunkers that saw K-State give up 50 or more points four times.

The only difference being this time, it had no offense to cut into Texas Tech's avalanche of points.

The Wildcats produced 284 yards of offense, and their scores came on a 17-yard interception return by senior defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald 2 minutes, 6 seconds into the second half, and an 8-yard touchdown run from Keithen Valentine midway through the fourth quarter.

They also went back to playing two quarterbacks.

Senior Grant Gregory, who looked so good in his debut start against Iowa State, threw for 37 yards and was sacked three times in the first half. Junior Carson Coffman played the entire second half and the final series of the first. Coffman was 11 of 16 for 131 yards.

Junior running back Daniel Thomas accounted for 49 yards on the ground before limping off the field in the third quarter, though he seemed OK afterward.

By comparison, Texas Tech's first-time starter Steven Sheffield was so spectacular that coach Mike Leach pulled him in the fourth quarter as a way to ease up on the visiting team.

Sheffield ended with a monstrous day, throwing for 490 yards and seven touchdowns.

He completed passes to 10 receivers and in the first half alone threw for 370 yards, which was good for a program record. Other highlights included touchdown passes of 52 and 72 yards.

No matter what K-State did defensively, it couldn't slow him down. Even with sophomore Brandon Harold returning to the defensive line, the Wildcats failed in their mission to pressure Sheffield.

Fitzgerald, who recorded an impressive individual day, did record K-State's first sack of the season against a Football Bowl Subdivision team in the fourth quarter, but other than that Texas Tech's quarterbacks had loads of time to find open receivers.

The Wildcats tried everything from a three-man line to a heavy blitz to slow the Red Raiders down, but neither philosophy worked all that well. They were also hampered by the loss of safety Tysyn Hartman late in the first half, who came off the field with an apparent injury and did not return.

That made throwing the ball in their explosive system pretty easy, and the Red Raiders racked up the points.

They led 14-0 after the first quarter, 38-0 at half and 59-7 in the fourth quarter before getting to the final score.

Detron Lewis was Texas Tech's top receiver, grabbing eight catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Tramain Swindall was next in line with 97 yards and a score.

K-State's top offensive performer was Valentine, who rushed for 96 yards on eight carries and scored a touchdown.

With the loss, K-State dropped to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 play. Texas Tech improved to 4-2 and 1-1.

Next up for the Wildcats is a home game with Texas A&M.

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