LUBBOCK – The Weber State game, although most Texas Tech fans probably never would have envisioned it in the preseason, was in fact a must-win game for Tech quarterback Taylor Potts and the Red Raiders.
The plan for Tech was simple: Win, and you're bowl eligible.
So it may not come as a surprise that the combination of the opposition – Weber State is a member of the Football Championship Subdivision – and having a bowl game at stake resulted in a 64-21 win for the Red Raiders on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium.
"Everything seemed to kind of work today," Potts said after the game. "Everybody executed really well. It felt like at times we had 11 guys playing at the exact same time, when in the past it feels like we're just missing a couple of guys on certain plays that would help. Today I felt like we had 11 guys playing all at the same time, and it felt good."
The victory extended Tech's Big 12 Conference record of consecutive bowl-eligible years to 18. Additionally, Saturday also was Senior Day for the Red Raiders, some of who wasted no time leaving their marks on the victory.
Running back Baron Batch, a fifth-year senior, was the first to do just that. Batch carried the ball four times for 35 yards on Tech's opening drive, capping it off with a 4-yard touchdown reception via a toss from senior quarterback Taylor Potts.
The running attack continued pace the Red Raiders during their second drive, only this time it was Potts, not any of the running backs, who scampered into the endzone for a 2-yard score.
After two drives and a possession time of 5:07, the Red Raiders owned 14-0 advantage on the Wildcats and had racked up 84 yard rushing and passing.
By first quarter's end, the Tech (6-5, 3-5 in Big 12 Conference play) offense had generated 330 total yards of offense, surpassing its 326 total yards in a 45-7 loss to Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., the week before.
Also, Tech's 23-0 cushion at the end of the opening period is the biggest first-quarter output the Red Raiders have amassed to this point in the season. It's previous high was a 21-point first quarter against New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., on Sept. 11.
"We're excited that we're to this point today," Tuberville said. "I know we've had some setbacks during the years, but it's good to see a team play hard even when you come back off of a game last week and play and score what, 23, 24 points in the first quarter. That was fun to watch."
Potts and company didn't take their foot off the pedal, though. A touchdown run from Batch accompanied by passing touchdowns from Potts to receiver Detron Lewis and running back Aaron Crawford had the Red Raiders entering halftime with a 44-0 lead.
The 44 points scored by Tech against Weber State (6-5) are the most points scored in a half by the Red Raiders since they lit up Indiana State for 52 first-half points in 2005.
The large advantage allowed Tuberville and the rest of the coaching staff to implement some of the backups into the mix. Of those incorporated into the win were the likes of Steven Sheffield, who threw the final touchdown of the first half to Crawford.
Sheffield came out onto the field in place of Potts to start a drive with 2:23 remaining in the second quarter. Potts finished with 272 yards passing, completing 21-of-24 attempts for three scores and no interceptions. He also became only the fourth quarterback in Tech history to throw for 7,000 career passing yards.
"I mean, obviously the quarterbacks did good because we kept cycling through them, you know," said Tech receiver Austin Zouzalik. "We didn't have to get them too many reps."
The quarterback position wasn't the only one reach into its bevy of options. Some notable contributions were received from freshmen Ben McRoy, who logged 81 yards on the ground and two scores, and Cqulin Hubert, leading the defense in total tackles with nine to his name.
The mixture of appearances from some different players along with the fashion in which the Red Raiders won are just some things Tuberville believed his team needed, and needed now.
"It's hard to recover anytime you got beat like we got beat last week (at Oklahoma)," Tuberville said. "This is a good confidence builder, we needed it. Every game for us this year has been down to the wire, so our guys needed to play a game like this."
Tech concludes its regular season when it hosts Houston at 7 p.m. CDT next Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium.