LUBBOCK — Only 56 yards separated Seth Doege and the Texas Tech offense from avoiding a surprising loss to the Nevada Wolfpack, and falling to 2-1 on the season staring conference play right in the face in just a week.
With four minutes and 13 seconds ran off the clock after the drive started at Nevada's 44-yard line, Doege's pass fell into the hands of Eric Ward wide open in the back of the end zone to seal the 35-34 comeback win for the Red Raiders against the Wolfpack in front of 55,664 fans on Saturday.
"Feels like a dream," Ward said with a smile. "That's all I have to say, it feels like it didn't even happen to be honest with you. But when something like that happens you just got to dwell with the moment, because things like this don't last forever.
"It feels great."
For the majority of the game Tech (3-0) found itself in unfamiliar waters, a position the Red Raiders had not been in all season considering the two blowouts they have administered thus far - trailing with less than five minutes to go.
Doege walked up to the line to snap the ball and do really the only thing he hadn't accomplished yet as the starting quarterback for Tech - lead a game-winning drive.
For a team that had relied on its passing attack in the first two games, Tech showed against Nevada that it could and would run the ball at will and be able to drive the field with a balanced offensive attack.
After a false start penalty, Tech running back Eric Stephens, who earlier in the game passed Tyrone Thurman for 10th all-time in Tech history in all-purpose yards, got those penalty yards back and some with a 16-yard run.
Doege also showed off his skills as a mobile quarterback with two big runs in the game, a 48-yard pick up in the third quarter and a crucial 26-yard gain on the final drive.
With Tech on the seven-yard line it looked as though the Red Raiders were just a couple of plays away from the end zone and Stephens helped gain a couple more yards, en route to his 137-yard performance on 26 carries, both career-highs, to get Tech down to the three-yard line.
Having to come back and fight back like they did was good for the team, Stephens said, and it will be an experience to lean on down the road especially for the younger guys on the team.
"It's just going to help us in the future," he said. "It's just going to help us in the future whether it be road games or home games, when we're in tough situations, we know we can overcome."
After a failed third-down conversion, due to a fumbled snap by Doege, Tech took a timeout to draw up one more play with only 44 ticks left on the game clock and the fans getting behind Tech and in the heads of the defense.
The ball snapped, Doege was flushed out of the pocket and standing wide open in the left corner of the end zone was Ward to be on the receiving end of the game-winning pass.
With 36 seconds left in the game Tech had regained the lead for only the second time when the Red Raiders took the lead on a pass from Doege to Ward for the first touchdown of the game.
"A lot of guys had to put a lot forward, and really proud of them," Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said following the game. "Really proud of the fans they stuck with us, crowd stayed in it and that's what we needed to happen."