DALLAS — It wasn't just a game that had to be one simply because you normally want to win every game.
Texas Tech needed to win this game to win back respect, dignity, its fans and its season.
Tech head coach Tommy Tubervile summed it up in his opening sentence after the game, "It feel good to, no — it feels great."
Tech (3-2, 1-2 Big 12) avoided its first three-game conference losing streak and got the season back on the right track with a solid offensive performance by quarterback Taylor Potts to beat Baylor, 45-38, Saturday at Cotton Bowl Stadium in the Texas Farm Bureau Shootout.
"It feels great to get back on the winning track," Tuberville said. "We're a much better team than what's showed the last couple of weeks and I think it showed."
Potts was precise and consistent, and even called on his inner Robert Griffin to run for Tech's longest rushing play this season and nearly score.
Potts was almost flawless in the first half, completing 25 of 32 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns — two in the final minutes of the first half to help Tech keep its first lead since opening the New Mexico game with a touchdown nearly one month ago.
He finished with 462 yards and another TD while completing 71 percent of his passes. The 462 yards was a Cotton Bowl Stadium record.
"This was really huge," said Potts, who became just the sixth player in Tech history to complete at least 500 passes. "Coach talked about it all week that this was going to really make or break us and kind of define our team and how we play as an offense."
More importantly, Tech scored quick and on its first drive to ensure it would never fall behind by more than one touchdown against Baylor (4-2, 1-1) and allow quarterback Robert Griffin to take control of the game.
The Red Raiders offense totaled 635 yards and even had their running game going in the right direction for once (173 yards) led by running back Baron Batch's 97 yards and one touchdown.
"We were able to run really well on first down," Batch said. "I think that helped us keep them where we wanted all day, and that's on their heels."
While it wasn't the prettiest ending — the game was decided by a TD for the third consecutive year — Tech didn't need the defense to play perfect, just at the right time.
"We played defense at the appropriate times," Tuberville said. "It's a huge moment. We had a loss at home, a very disappointing game that was a very winnable game for us in out first conference game. Then we go on the road and dug ourselves a hole and that was just going on the road and not getting it done. … This is one win, we'll take it, but we've got a lot of big ones coming up."
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