Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes received passing grades from his coach and the Big 12 after the Red Raiders opened the season with a victory on Saturday.
The sophomore quarterback was selected conference offensive player of the week after leading Tech to a 59-45 victory over FCS Sam Houston State on Saturday. Mahomes had a Big 12-leading 425 yards passing and four touchdowns.
Dating to 2014, Mahomes has passed for 300 or more yards and four or more touchdowns in four consecutive games.
“I thought he handled himself well,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said during Monday’s Big 12 Conference coaches call. “He came out poised and focused. That’s encouraging. He looked more comfortable in the pocket. More than anything else, he came out early and was sharp.”
Mahomes was locked in, added Kingsbury, who also said the decision to go with the second-year player as the starter over junior Davis Webb was a difficult one.
I thought he handled himself well. He came out poised and focused. That’s encouraging.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury on quarterback Patrick Mahomes
“I like that we started fast offensively,” Kingsbury said. “I thought there was an eight- or nine-minute stretch we did some good things on both sides of the ball.”
Despite the victory to open a third season under Kingsbury, future foes saw some things they no doubt liked, particularly a defense that yielded 637 yards, including 317 yards rushing.
In addition to difficulty against the run, Tech also committed 10 penalties. Those were two issues that dogged the Red Raiders all of 2014.
Kingsbury also didn’t like what he termed his team’s complacency in the fourth quarter. Up big, and having held Sam Houston scoreless in the third quarter, Tech couldn’t completely shut the door.
Texas Tech gave up 317 yards rushing to Sam Houston State and committed 10 penalties, two issues that dogged the Red Raiders all of 2014.
Tech’s next test will be UT El Paso on Saturday. The Miners, who struggled on the ground in a season-opening loss to Arkansas, averaged 225 yards on the ground last year.
“It’ll be a test this week as well,” Kingsbury said. “Really, the guys up front need to play better, linebackers need to tackle in space. We had a hard time slowing down their momentum in the first half.
“We have to get a lot better obviously, but you have to give credit to Sam Houston State.”
Wide receiver Jakeem Grant, who had a 45.3-yard average kick return, was selected the Big 12 special teams player of the week.
K-State’s Ertz out awhile
By the tone of Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, quarterback Jesse Ertz might be done for the season.
Officially, Snyder said Ertz “will be out for some time.”
Ertz left the Wildcats’ game with South Dakota on Saturday early with an apparent knee injury.
“We will miss him,” Snyder said. “We feel badly about the loss and he will be there. He has been a wonderful individual for us, very representative of our value system, of our team and really developing as a leader.
“I am quite confident he will stay invested in what we are doing and will be very helpful to all of his teammates. We will move on.”
Joe Hubener, who was recruited as an athlete, is one of the few, if only, college quarterbacks who didn’t play the position in high school.
Two other quarterbacks made their starting debuts for their respective teams.
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, a transfer from Texas Tech who passed for 388 yards, received praise from coach Bob Stoops. “His decision-making and ability to make some plays and hang on to the ball in a few extra counts for something to break open was good,” Stoops said.
Skyler Howard earned similar credit from his coach Dana Holgorsen of West Virginia.
359 Yards passing for Fort Worth native Skyler Howard in West Virginia’s victory over Georgia Southern
“He’s a real smart kid,” Holgorsen said of the Fort Worth native who passed for two touchdowns and 359 yards in a 44-0 win over Georgia Southern. “He’s diligent in his preparation and understands the game plan.”
Defensively, West Virginia safety Karl Joseph was selected Big 12 defensive player of the week.