Red Raiders Blast Demons, 44-6

Texas Tech proved a lot of people wrong and answered a lot questions in the season opener on Saturday.

It was exactly what people wanted to see at Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday night – a Red Raider team that could stop the run and successfully run the ball as well.

For the first time in a long time Texas Tech (1-0) had 46 rush attempts in a single game totaling 179 yards, including two trips to the end zone for Eric Stephens.

"I just felt great," he said about the touchdowns. "After all that rehab I've done, what it's been about 11 months now, it just felt great to be back with my team and to play again."

Stephens passed the 1,500-yard career rushing mark with his 58 yards on 16 carries, and also had three catches for 11 yards.

Besides Stephen's season-opening performance Kenny Williams led the way for the Red Raiders on the rushing attack with 75 yards, while Bradley Marquez led the wide receivers with 92 yards on seven catches, which are both new career highs for the sophomore.

"That was a good start, a very good start," Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville said. "I thought our coaches and players really prepared to play this game."

One player that definitely was ready to play, Marcus Kennard, had struggled through the last week of fall camp, but found some playing time with Darrin Moore and Javon Bell being held out of the game.

Kennard took advantage of his opportunity grabbing two touchdowns on four receptions and 40 yards.

"Like I told him before the game, this is your opportunity," Tuberville said about Kennard's performance. "You have to make the best of it, and he did. He made some good catches, and he gives you that extra height on the outside."

Kennard caught both of those touchdown passes from red-shirt freshman quarterback Michael Brewer in the fourth quarter after Tech starter Seth Doege was pulled entering the final 15 minutes.

Doege went 23-for-34 for 199 yards and one touchdown; while Brewer came in and didn't miss a beat completing 10-of-13 passes for 122 yards for two touchdowns.

Doege said he was not happy with how he threw the ball in the win, but was happy about the overall outcome of the game.

"It feels good," he said. "Any time you win a game, it feels good. I felt like we were more prepared as a team, and kind of went into it with a different attitude that we had last year. We were excited last year, just like we were this year. But just watching the guys fly around is a little different. I think we're going to have a good team. We just need to continue to get better each week."

The biggest question for everyone entering the game was not on the offensive side of the ball considering the Red Raiders had the 13th best ranked offense according to total offense in 2011.

The question posed was, how was the defense going to respond in its first test of the season under new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman?

Answer - very well.

The Tech defensive unit held the Demons offense to just 84 total yards and 13 on the ground. The 13 yards are the fewest yards ran for by an opponent since 1998, and the 84 total yards are the fewest since 2010 when Tech held the Demons to 118.

"It's a small step in a long journey," Tech junior defensive end Kerry Hyder said. "We did a good job today, but we still have a long way to go on defense."

The Red Raiders will get their next chance for improvement next week as they travel to San Marcos to take on the Texas State Bobcats at 6 p.m. on ESPN3.com.


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