Tech withstands SMU comeback bid

SMU showed the country on national television that they can play with anyone. At one point, the Texas Tech Red Raiders held a 35-14 advantage on Sunday afternoon, but the Mustangs stormed back before falling short, 35-27 in their season opener.

Aided by early SMU turnovers and the passing of Taylor Potts, Texas Tech earned a 35-27 victory over the Mustangs Sunday afternoon in Lubbock.

Potts completed 34-of-53 passes for 359 yards and four TDs, with the bulk of his throws going to WR Lyle Leong (11-142, three TDs).

On two occasions, the Red Raiders led by 21 points in the second half, but SMU scored the final 13 points of the contest and had a chance to tie the game in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

The Mustangs blocked two field goals, with the first coming early in the first quarter. On Tech's first possession, the Red Raiders drove to the SMU 30-yard line, but 6-foot-4 Kevin Granier batted down a field goal attempt on fourth down.

The Red Raiders got on the board with just under a minute remaining in the opening stanza. SMU's Kenneth Acker had the ball jarred loose on a punt return and Tech recovered at the SMU 18-yard line. Five plays later, Potts found Leong - his former high school teammate - on a fade route in the left corner of the end zone for a three-yard score.

On the ensuing drive, Kyle Padron - under heavy pressure - attempted to throw across the field into traffic and was picked off near midfield.

Potts quickly marched the Red Raiders down the field, finding Leong once again -- this time from six yards out -- to put Tech up by a 14-0 margin.

After SMU went three-and-out, Tech embarked on another drive, only to have it foiled when 6-foot-8 Margus Hunt batted down a 51-yard field goal attempt.

The Mustangs were a tale of two halves on offense. Padron struggled with accuracy through the first two quarters and tossed all three of his inteceptions before intermission.

The bright spot for the Mustangs in the first half, from an offensive standpoint, was sturdy RB Zach Line, who ended the day with 72 yards rushing (and a TD) on 12 carries. Line also caught four passes for 24 yards.

The sophomore RB was the catalyst on SMU's first scoring drive, ripping off runs of 13 and 11 yards, respectively, and eventually plunging in from two yards out to cut Tech's lead to 14-7. Padron had a crucial 18-yard scramble on 3rd-and-4 to keep the drive alive.

Tech, however, was able to quickly answer and add more points on the scoreboard as the first-half concluded. Potts, who threw for 226 yards and three TDs in the half, connected with WR Detron Lewis on a 16-yard pass with six seconds remaining in the second to put the Red Raiders up, 21-7.

It didn't look promising for SMU early in the third quarter, as Tech received the kickoff and drove 63 yards to open a 28-7 advantage.

However, that's when Padron got the hot hand. The sophomore found WRs Aldrick Robinson and Cole Beasley repeatedly on the Mustangs' next possession, with Beasley catching a 19-yard scoring pass to reduce Tech's lead to 28-14 at the 8:43 mark of the third quarter.

True freshman Darryl Fields provided the spark that preceded SMU's furious rally.

After Tech went ahead, 35-14, with 4:40 remaining in the third, Fields showed why there's been so much excitement surrounding his presence in Dallas, taking the kickoff and barreling 92 yards to set up the first of two Matt Szymanski field goals.

Early in the fourth quarter, SMU cut the deficit to 35-20 on a school-record 61-yard field goal by Szymanski. Zach Line and Darius Johnson were the two big producers on the drive that led to Szymanski's heroics. Line had an 18-yard run on the drive and Johnson snagged an amazing one-handed catch for a first down on 3rd-and-6.

Potts' muffed snap on 4th-and-1 set up SMU's final touchdown. The Mustangs took over at Tech's 32-yard line and punched it in on Beasley's second scoring reception.

After the Mustangs' defense forced a three-and-out, Padron directed the offense from its own six-yard line into Red Raider territory, but SMU was unable to convert on fourth-and-long.

Padron, who was forced to miss the final two plays of that drive after an apparent injury to his throwing hand, completed 21-of-38 passes for 218 yards and two TDs. Beasley was his top target, catching five passes for 57 yards. Aldrick Johnson had three receptions for 50 yards.


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