In what has become so routine, Harrell was 37-of-46 for 433 yards and three touchdowns, eclipsing the 4,000-yard passing mark for the second season in a row in Texas Tech's 38-7 victory against Baylor on Saturday.
Harrell, who had his 10th career 400-yard game, completed 10 straight passes on the first two scoring drives in Tech's 12th consecutive win over the Bears.
"The win is bigger than [4,000 yards]," Harrell said. "It's a nice accomplishment. But I've had good players around me to help me do that. In this offense, everyone can make a play. We have playmakers at every position."
There was at least one surprise when a new playmaker emerged for the Red Raiders (7-3, 3-3 Big 12).
Freshman running back Aaron Crawford, in his second start, scored his first four collegiate touchdowns. He ran for two scores and caught two others.
|Crawford scored 4 touchdowns on the night|
"With as much as we move the ball and throw the ball, you are going to get a lot of touches," Crawford said. "I was fortunate to play well ... A lot of credit goes to Graham for calling my number."
Baylor (3-7, 0-6) has lost its Big 12 games by an average of 30 points. The sixth straight loss guaranteed the Bears' 12th consecutive losing season and put coach Guy Morriss' job in more jeopardy despite having another year left on his contract. Morriss is 18-38 in his fifth season.
"I can't answer that," Morriss said when asked about his job status. "I'm focused on trying to get these guys ready to play. All of that other stuff is out of my control."
After the game, athletic director Ian McCaw reiterated previous comments that the program and Morriss' future will be evaluated after the season.
The Bears play at fifth-ranked Oklahoma next Saturday before their home finale against Oklahoma State.
Harrell, a junior, became the fifth quarterback at the NCAA's highest level, formerly known as Division I-A, to have multiple 4,000-yard seasons.
Ty Detmer of BYU and Timmy Chang of Hawaii each had three 4,000-yard seasons, and Byron Leftwich had two at Marshall. Hawaii senior Colt Brennan has two 4,000-yard seasons and 2,820 yards through eight games this year for the 12th-ranked Warriors, who didn't play Saturday.
Harrell hit 4,000 yards on the nose with his first completion, a 21-yarder to Edward Britton midway through the first quarter. Harrell immediately followed with two more long passes, 20 yards to Crawford and 37 to Eric Morris for Harrell's 36th TD pass this season.
"Every time we touch the ball, we feel we should score," Harrell said.
With two more TDs after that, Harrell matched his 38 TDs from last season when he threw for 4,555 yards. He has an NCAA-high 4,412 yards this year with two regular season games and a likely bowl remaining.
After a 15-yard completion to convert a fourth-and-5 on the first play of the fourth quarter, Harrell came out of the game with Tech ahead 38-0.
Danny Amendola had eight catches for 108 yards to join Michael Crabtree with more than 1,000 yards receiving. They are the 24th set of teammates in NCAA history to have 1,000 yards in the same season (the Red Raiders had three 1,000-yard receivers in 2003).
Crabtree, a freshman, had his worst game with four catches for 61 yards. But he is still the NCAA leader with 104 catches for 1,522 yards and 18 TDs.
Defensive end Brandon Williams' sack and fumble recovery set up Tech's first touchdown. Williams blind-sided Szymanski, then crawled over the Baylor quarterback to get the ball.
"That put momentum on our side, and we never lost it," Harrell said.
Harrell responded with his 10 consecutive completions, the three that led to the first score, and seven more for 66 yards on the next drive that set up Crawford's 3-yard TD run for a 14-0 lead.
Crawford turned a screen pass into a 17-yard TD on the first play after Amendola's 65-yard punt return in the third quarter. Crawford later scored on a 17-yard run and a 7-yard catch.
"[Crawford] focuses on what he's doing and doesn't let anything distract him," coach Mike Leach said. "Others make it more complicated than it is. He keeps it simple. When he sees a hole, he hits it."