Texas Tech’s bid to end a three-game losing streak against the nation’s fifth-ranked team went sliding away in the slippery slope of turnovers, a special teams gaffe and a defense that continued to struggle against the run and with missed tackles.
That and a Baylor team that presents enough hardships with a potent vertical passing game left the reeling Red Raiders with a fourth consecutive loss, 63-34 Saturday against the Bears.
Tech, which was ranked in the top 10 in the nation only four weeks ago after winning its first seven games, is now at risk of losing its last five of the regular season.
“We have to get better on all three sides,” said Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, whose team closes the regular season at Texas on Thanksgiving. “That’s all you can do at this point.
“We’ve got some young guys playing that have to step up. We’ve got to play a complete game. We haven’t done that all year.”
Tech raced out to a 20-7 first-quarter lead before Baylor scored 21 unanswered points with some help from the Red Raiders.
Baylor punt returner Levi Norwood appeared to be contained by Tech defenders after receiving a punt at his own 42. But he eluded four would-be Tech tacklers and raced 58 yards for Baylor’s second score.
An interception and fumble by true freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield on Tech’s next two possessions led to 14 more Baylor points.
Defensively, Tech continued to struggle. After giving up 131 points in its first seven games, the Red Raiders have allowed 202 in their four losses.
Tech’s rush defense in particular has left players at a loss. On Saturday, the Raiders gave up 340 yards rushing, marking a fourth straight game the Raiders have given up more than 250 on the ground.
“I really don’t understand why we haven’t been stopping the run,” linebacker Sam Eguavoen said. “If you look at the stats … it’s been six or seven big plays that stood out.”
Mayfield, a walk-on, was Texas Tech’s original starting quarterback at the beginning of the season.
Mayfield relieved true freshman Davis Webb in last week’s loss to Kansas State and was 28 for 51 for 314 yards and four touchdowns on Saturday.
After racking up 305 yards at halftime, Tech was held to 145 total yards in the second half.
“I thought he played hard tonight, just turned it over a couple of times that we can’t have against a team like that,” Kingsbury said.
Baylor’s leading rusher Lache Seastrunk sat out Saturday’s game with a groin injury he sustained a week ago.
For a second consecutive week, Shock Linwood recorded career bests with 187 yards on 29 carries.
In last week’s victory over Oklahoma, the redshirt freshman carried 23 times for 182 yards in relief of Seastrunk, who left the game after only six carries.
Kick up a fuss
Baylor’s Aaron Jones set an NCAA record for successful point-after attempts at 260 after kicking nine on Saturday.
Jones, a senior from Crowley High School, has kicked 175 consecutive extra points for the Bears.
Louisville’s Art Carmody held the mark with 253 between 2004-07.
Antwan Goodley’s 31-yard touchdown reception from Bryce Petty with 4 seconds left in the first quarter ensured that Baylor’s streak of outscoring opponents in the opening period every game this season remained intact.
Aaron Jones’ extra point gave the Bears their first lead at 21-20.