Texas Tech and Patrick Mahomes struck so quickly in a decisive first-half air raid that not even a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop delivery driver could keep up with the pace of play or the quarterback’s rising draft stock on a very red-and-black Friday.
Texas Tech’s 54-35 victory at AT&T Stadium snapped a five-game losing skid to Baylor, serving as consolation for a team coming off a 56-point loss, and one that scuffled to five wins during a season in which the Red Raiders discovered the hard way that the best defense is not a good offense.
There will be no postseason, so rather than wait for a bowl destination, the Red Raiders (5-7, 3-6 Big 12) will now wait to see if coach Kliff Kingsbury and/or Mahomes will stay or go. The coach is expected to return for another season despite missing the postseason for the second time in his four seasons.
The NFL could be calling the quarterback.
If indeed the junior elects to skip his final year of eligibility, the triumph over Baylor (6-5, 3-5) might go down as his pièce de résistance.
Mahomes showed why he has scaled NFL Draft boards with another set of numbers that jump off the stat sheet, 586 yards passing and six touchdowns, including three scoring passes during a stretch in which the Red Raiders scored four times in 1:45. Mahomes had TD passes of 81 and 80 yards while finishing 30-of-46 passing.
Mahomes, who threw two touchdowns each to Keke Coutee and Dylan Cantrell, became only the third player in FBS history to accumulate 5,000 or more total yards in consecutive seasons, joining Case Keenum and Tech alum Graham Harrell.
“I’ll get a break, go home and enjoy time with family and friends,” Mahomes said. “Then I’ll talk to Coach Kingsbury and my family and figure out what’s the best decision. Right now my plan is to stay at Texas Tech.”
Kingsbury said he knows what he would like to tell him – come back, but ultimately he’ll advise Mahomes to do “what’s best for Pat.”
“If the money is right and he needs to go … . but if it’s not, if there’s some way he can improve, then he’ll come back and we’ll do it again.”
With the loss, the Bears have dropped five straight games after starting the season 6-0 and climbing to No. 8 in the country. The losing streak marks the longest for Baylor since the Bears lost eight straight in 2007 and the opener of 2008, the first game of the now deposed Art Briles.
Freshman Zach Smith of Grandview passed for 377 yards and three TDs. Ishmael Zamora had 12 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. K.D. Cannon had 12 receptions for 132 yards and two scores.
The Bears, though, were “too sloppy and undisciplined to win,” coach Jim Grobe said. Baylor fumbled six times, losing three, and the Bears were forced to go on fourth down nine times.
“You just can’t make a living going for fourth down at the 50-yard line all the time,” Grobe said. “Defensively … I think we want to play aggressively, but at times we probably crowded them too much and gave them home runs.
Baylor opened the scoring with Smith’s 53-yard TD pass to Cannon on fourth-and-3 at the 12:43 mark.
The Red Raiders answered with a methodical 10-play scoring drive, capped by Mahomes’ first TD pass to Coutee, from 35 yards. Tech then rooted up the stadium turf like a wild hog, scoring four times in 1:45.
The rundown of one-play drives during a run of 34 consecutive points:
▪ Mahomes and Cantrell connect for the first time on the first play of Tech’s third drive, 40 yards and 8 seconds.
▪ After holding Baylor on fourth down, Mahomes hit Quan Shorts 81 yards in a 12-second drive.
▪ After rebuffing the Bears a second time on fourth down, Mahomes and Coutee find each other a second time, this one for 80 yards in a 13-second drive.
Mahomes tossed his fifth TD of the half late in the second quarter, successfully ending a drive of 1:33, which, relative to the others preceding it felt little like watching War and Peace on the big screen.
BAY—Cannon 53 pass from Z.Smith (Callahan kick), 12:43
TT—Coutee 35 pass from Mahomes (Hatfield kick), 8:05
TT—Cantrell 40 pass from Mahomes (kick failed), 6:09
TT—D.Ward 5 run (Hatfield kick), 3:13
TT—Shorts 81 pass from Mahomes (Hatfield kick), 9:32
TT—Coutee 80 pass from Mahomes (Hatfield kick), 7:19
BAY—T.Williams 9 run (Callahan kick), 6:23
TT—Giles 62 pass from Mahomes (Hatfield kick), 4:50
BAY—Zamora 21 pass from Z.Smith (Callahan kick), :56
TT—Cantrell 6 pass from Mahomes (Hatfield kick), 10:26
BAY—T.Williams 2 run (Callahan kick), 9:37
TT—FG Hatfield 31, 5:52
BAY—Cannon 9 pass from Z.Smith (Callahan kick), 14:36
TT—FG Hatfield 27, 11:09
Time of Possession
RUSHING—Baylor, T.Williams 23-147, Hasty 14-81, Zamora 3-22, Linwood 8-18, Lynch 2-5, (Team) 1-(minus 7), Z.Smith 2-(minus 9). Texas Tech, D.Ward 20-82, Stockton 4-12, Coutee 1-(minus 4), (Team) 3-(minus 4), Mahomes 4-(minus 6).
PASSING—Baylor, Zamora 0-1-0-0, Z.Smith 30-46-1-377. Texas Tech, Batson 0-1-0-0, Mahomes 30-46-0-586.
RECEIVING—Baylor, Zamora 12-155, Cannon 12-132, Platt 5-77, Q.Jones 1-13. Texas Tech, Cantrell 9-111, Coutee 8-221, Giles 4-82, D.Ward 3-38, Batson 3-29, Shorts 1-81, T.Brown 1-23, Q.White 1-1.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Baylor, Callahan 37.